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GE May Sell $1 Billion Europe Trailer-Lease Unit

Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 07:46 PM

General Electric Co. is considering a sale of its European trailer-leasing unit, a deal that may fetch about 800 million euros ($1 billion), two people with knowledge of the discussions said.

GE hired Barclays Plc to help manage the sale process, which probably will attract private-equity buyers, said the people who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential. An auction may start in the next weeks after banks are sounded out on the amount of debt financing they would be willing to lend to help fund a leveraged buyout, they said.

The division is part of GE’s finance unit, which the Fairfield, Connecticut-based parent company is shrinking as a percentage of profit and sales while working to boost industrial businesses.

GE Capital is selling or winding down about $80 billion in assets and will shift those resources to areas such as aircraft leasing and middle-market lending.

William Spiers, a spokesman for GE in the U.K., declined to immediately comment when reached by phone. Russell Wilkerson, a spokesman for GE Capital in the U.S., couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Barclays in London declined to comment.

European private-equity firms, which typically fund more than half of their takeovers with debt, are having a harder time borrowing because of the sovereign debt crisis. Companies including French luxury group PPR SA have had to halt disposals because bad financing conditions may lower prices that buyout firms can offer.

GE’s TIP Trailer Services provides rentals and leasing of equipment including trucks, tankers and trailers to transportation companies. It has the largest trailer and truck fleet in Europe, according to its website.

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General Electric Co. is considering a sale of its European trailer-leasing unit, a deal that may fetch about 800 million euros ($1 billion), two people with knowledge of the discussions said.GE hired Barclays Plc to help manage the sale process, which probably will attract...
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Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 07:46 PM
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