General Electric Co. agreed to sell the bulk of its vehicle fleet-management business to Canada’s Element Financial Corp. for $6.9 billion as the U.S. company accelerates the disposal of finance operations.
The annoucement comes shortly after GE agreed to sell its private equity lending business, GE Antares, to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $12 billlion.
Element will acquire GE Capital’s fleet assets in the U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, the maker of turbines and medical scanners said in a statement. Separately, GE signed a provisional accord with Arval, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, to sell the European portions of the business.
“We continue to demonstrate speed and execution on our strategy to sell most of the assets of GE Capital,” Keith Sherin, GE Capital’s chief executive officer, said Monday in the statement. “We are on track to execute sales of $100 billion by the end of 2015 and expect to be substantially done by the end of 2016.”
The accord builds on GE’s June 9 deal to sell most of its U.S. private-equity lending business to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about $12 billion. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company plans to shed about $200 billion of lending assets to refocus on industrial operations after GE Capital’s struggles during the 2008 financial crisis imperiled the parent company.
GE will retain divisions that support manufacturing -- including aircraft leasing, a boost for jet-engine production -- while unloading the fleet unit and similar businesses.
The Element and Arval agreements represent about $8.6 billion in ending net investment, a balance-sheet gauge that excludes non-interest-bearing liabilities and cash, GE said. GE Capital has announced about $63 billion in sales to date.
Shares of GE trading in Germany exchanged for the equivalent of $26.81, compared with the New York close of $27.09 on June 26.
GE Capital Fleet Services leases and manages more than 1.5 million autos and trucks, mostly in the U.S., for mid-sized and large companies including Hewlett-Packard Co. The assets in Japan are not included in either of the announced deals.
The fleet business will complement Element’s growing vehicle division, located mostly in North America. The Toronto- based company bought GE Capital’s Canadian fleet business in 2013 and created a Canadian-U.S. partnership. In 2014, Element expanded further by purchasing the North American fleet management business of PHH Corp., PHH Arval.
The latest deal with GE includes the transfer of employees, intellectual property, offices and systems. Following the transaction, Element will have fleet assets of more than C$13 billion ($10.6 billion) and total assets of over C$21 billion, it said.
“Adding these very high-quality businesses to our existing fleet operations firmly establishes Element as a leader in the North American fleet management industry,” Element CEO Steven Hudson said in a statement.
The U.S. and Mexico portion of the deal is expected to close in the third quarter, and the Australia and New Zealand part in the fourth quarter, GE said. JP Morgan Securities LLC advised GE on the transaction, with legal services provided by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.