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Clearance Application From GE Capital Finance

4 April 2002/32


Commerce Commission Receives Clearance Application From GE Capital Finance

The Commerce Commission has received an application from GE Capital Finance Australasia Pty Limited (GEC), and any of its interconnected corporate bodies to acquire the business assets of Australian Guarantee Corporation (NZ) Limited (AGC). The business assets will include 50% of the shares of AA Financial Services Limited.

GEC is the financial services division of the US conglomerate, General Electric Co. based in Connecticut. General Electric operates a wide range of manufacturing and service divisions around the world. The proposed acquisition, however, only involves the financial division which trades under the name “GE Finance and Insurance” and involves both the New Zealand and Australian operations. A number of their products/services are supplied to New Zealand from Australia, including insurance and consumer, motor vehicle and business finance.

AGC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Westpac Holdings NZ Limited, which is 100% owned by Westpac Banking Corporation of Australia. AGC is similarly engaged in the provision of financial products including consumer, motor vehicle and business finance.

In considering the application, the Commission’s role is to determine whether the merger has the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

A public version of GEC’s application will shortly be available on request from the Commerce Commission. Please contact Catherine Best, (04) 924 3654.

Background

AGC is a shareholder (50%) in AA Financial Services Limited (AAFS). The other shareholder is the NZ Automobile Association Inc. Pursuant to joint venture and alliance agreements, AGC provides financial services to AA members. AAFS also provides life insurance products which are underwritten by Royal & SunAlliance.

Ends

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