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GE Capital Sees Growth in Japan With Leasing Firm

From Reuters

GE Capital declared its intention Sunday to become a financial services leader in Japan following its purchase of the leasing operations of bankrupt Japan Leasing Corp. for about $7 billion.

The financial services arm of General Electric Co. became the latest U.S. firm to salvage a bargain from the wreck of Japan’s bubble economy. It immediately revealed high ambitions for the Japanese market.

“GE Capital is set to offer general financial services to corporate clients in Japan, in addition to consumer financing and other retail services,” Senior Vice President Christopher Richmond said in an interview published Sunday in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper.

GE Capital would offer leasing and nonleasing services to Japanese corporations, with leasing operations of the Japanese firm forming the core of the service, the newspaper quoted Richmond as saying.

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The deal, described as one of the largest takeovers involving a Japanese company, was the second major acquisition by a foreign firm of a collapsed company in Japan’s financial sector in the last year.

Merrill Lynch & Co. took over retail branches run by collapsed Japanese brokerage Yamaichi Securities last year.

Under the deal announced Saturday at a joint news conference in Tokyo, GE Capital will buy Japan Leasing and its Japan Leasing Auto Corp. subsidiary.

The companies declined to confirm how much the deal was worth, but industry sources said GE Capital would pay about $7 billion.

Japan Leasing, which filed for court protection from creditors in September with billions in debt, is a nonbank unit of troubled Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, which was put under state control last October.


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