SMFG agrees to buy GE's Japan leasing business for US$4.8b

[TOKYO] Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG) agreed to buy General Electric's Japanese leasing business for US$4.8 billion, the two companies said on Tuesday.

The deal is part of GE's plan to sell off the about US$200 billion worth of assets of its finance arm, GE Capital, as the US conglomerate moves away from finance to focus on manufacturing industrial equipment.

Earlier this month, the company said it expected its GE Capital exit plan to be largely complete by end-2016.

Under the deal, SMFG will acquire GE's commercial lending and leasing business in Japan, including capital finance, fleet service and vendor finance, whose total assets are worth US$4.2 billion, SMFG said.

The deal is expected to close in April 2016, the two companies said.

In June, SMFG agreed to buy GE's European private equity financing business for about US$2.2 billion.

SMFG, Japan's third-largest lender by assets, has been aggressively expanding beyond traditional banking in Japan to offset tepid lending demand and falling interest margins.

In 2012, a consortium led by SMFG bought the aircraft-leasing business of Royal Bank of Scotland for US$7.3 billion.

It has also spent a total of US$1.5 billion over the past two years to buy 40 per cent of Indonesian lender PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Tbk (BTPN).


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