GE Capital to sell U.S. real estate, Canadian fleet portfolios

Fri May 31, 2013 11:24am EDT

(Reuters) - GE Capital will sell off some U.S. real estate assets and its Canadian vehicle leasing business, as part of parent General Electric Co's (GE.N) efforts to reduce the size of the financial unit.

In separate deals announced on Friday, GE Capital said it would sell its $807 million U.S. property portfolio to American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP.O), while Element Financial Corp (EFN.TO) will take over its Canadian auto fleet portfolio for $553.48 million.

General Electric last week said it was considering spinning off parts of the financial arm through an initial public offering.

The conglomerate has been focusing on shrinking its financial business since the 2007-2008 global economic crisis. It has offloaded several assets held by GE Capital to reduce its dependence on the unit.

GE derived nearly half of its earnings from continuing operations from GE Capital in fiscal 2012.

The diversified company is also looking for successors to GE Capital Chief Executive Michael Neal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing sources.

DEAL DETAILS

American Realty Capital said the GE Capital properties it plans to acquire were primarily net leased to tenants operating restaurants such as IHOP, Jack in the Box, Golden Corral, Burger King, Taco Bell, Applebee's and Wendy's.

The single-tenant lease focused real estate company said the acquisition would help it reduce its dependence on its top tenants. After the deal, rental revenue generated by its 10 largest tenants will fall to 36 percent from 60 percent now.

The deal for 471 net lease properties follows an agreement, earlier this week, for American Realty Capital to purchase smaller rival CapLease Inc LSE.N for about $2.2 billion, including debt.

GE Capital's fleet portfolio that Element Financial plans to acquire comprises cars, light trucks and medium-duty trucks.

Element Financial will buy GE Capital's fleet portfolio and lease or loan them to its corporate customers. The equipment financing company will also provide services including fuelcard, vehicle maintenance and GPS tracking.

"If I have a Canadian customer that needs fleet services in the United States, GE Capital will do that under the alliance agreement," Element Financial President Bradley Nullmeyer said.

GE Capital's Canadian fleet operations will be combined with Element's existing fleet management business, the companies said.

Earlier this month, Element Financial said it would buy car leasing company TLSI Holdings Inc from Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) for C$146.7 million.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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