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GE Capital Finance Receives Commission Clearance

24 April

The Commerce Commission has approved 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.

Commission Chair John Belgrave said the Commission is satisfied that the proposed acquisition would not have, nor would be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in New Zealand in the defined markets.

The Commission’s written decision on the application is available on the Commission’s website, www.comcom.govt.nz/adjudication.

Background
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.

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.

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