Japanese banks among bidders for GE’s local finance unit: sources

By Taiga Uranaka

(Reuters) – Japanese banks are among bidders for General Electric Co’s GE.N local commercial lending and leasing operation, sources told Reuters on Friday.

Orix Corp 8591.T and the leasing units of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc 8316.T, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc 8306.T and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc 8309.T are among the bidders, the sources said.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said the finance unit’s assets are valued at about $5 billion. (http://on.wsj.com/1i0Aus7)

A spokesman for Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group declined to comment. Officials at Orix, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings were not available for comment.

GE was not immediately available for comment.

The sale is part of GE’s plan, unveiled in April, to divest about $200 billion in GE Capital assets as the conglomerate moves away from finance to focus on manufacturing.

GE had set a Sept. 4 deadline for the first round of bids for the Japanese unit, hoping to close the deal by the end of November, Reuters reported on July 27.

Last month, GE agreed to sell GE Capital Bank’s U.S. online deposits worth $16 billion to Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N.

In the same month, GE also sold its U.S. healthcare finance unit to credit card lender Capital One Financial Corp COF.N for about $9 billion.

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka in Tokyo and Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)