GE Capital UK to double balance sheet by 2013. Antonio Fabrizio reports.
GE Capital UK has reshuffled its equipment finance team as it refocuses its activities around health care, aircraft and structured equipment finance.
Jon Maycock, recently appointed as commercial director for GE Capital UK’s equipment finance division, will be working alongside a team made of seven people, six of whom are GE Capital veterans.
The vendor finance team is now led by Ann Williams, who has been with GE for 17 years. She replaces Simon Trudgeon, who becomes leader for structured equipment finance.
Jeremy Knight is the new head for health care finance, financing both GE and non-GE equipment in the public and private sectors; and Simon Hines becomes corporate aircraft leader.
James Ryan is now product and market leader, and Richard Charlesworth is capital markets leader in charge of developing GE’s syndicated business.
Mark Turrell is the only external appointment. He joins from Lombard and is in charge of business development, looking to expand vendor partnerships and existing and new markets.
The changes follow plans to strengthen GE Capital UK’s areas of competence in equipment finance.
Maycock said: “We want to make sure in our continually changing environment, we keep up with the changes in the market and in the customers we have, adapting ourselves to their new needs. We have the capacity to lend from a capital perspective and to take on new customers and vendors, leveraging the expertise we have gained by asset type and channel.”
The lender will continue to finance GE products, and the decision to reshuffle the UK team to focus on health care and aircraft reflects this, as GE manufactures aircraft components and medical equipment. However, the majority of business is expected to be for non-GE equipment, including IT and office equipment, materials handling and other industrial assets.
Vendor finance accounts for half of GE Capital UK’s business, and the company expects to sign new partnerships.
“We have signed, on average, a new vendor finance partnership every week in 2011,” Maycock said.
The lessor has learned over the years to provide “scalable processes” for vendors’ growth plans, as well as automated e-tools which enable 95% of lending decisions to be made within minutes following a request from a prospective customer.
GE Capital recently secured a partnership with telecom systems supplier 4com for the UK, and another one in the photovoltaic space as it builds its green finance centre of excellence.
While the renewable finance business is still a work in progress, once fully developed it will be used to support products from GE Energy as well as other manufacturers.
Maycock said: “The requirements for renewables are critical. These industries will be capex intensive and asset finance will become more important.”
A third pan-European partnership is to be announced soon, financing Oracle software installations.
The UK lender increased equipment finance business by 35% during 2010. It strongly reduced losses in its portfolio and is now well-positioned for future growth.
The company aims to achieve organic growth, but will also be looking for acquisitions. In particular, it will consider portfolio acquisitions in its core spaces, where there is either a chance of future volumes or existing partner relationships that can be strengthened.
The lender claimed to be committed to SMEs and mid-corporates, having provided financing solutions including invoice discounting and asset finance to 350,000 companies across Europe last year.
Lending to European SMEs was said to top €200m a day, while its global lending pot was pegged at $65bn (€46bn), with $15bn earmarked for the EMEA region.
The UK division plans to double its ebalance sheet to £2bn (€2.3bn) over two years. It expects a mass replacement cycle to benefit the UK leasing industry once the market recovers, although Maycock predicted that capex investments will only grow from 2012.
GE Capital UK aims to grow public sector activity, with the NHS accounting for more than half of its public sector book, and technology equipment for local authorities the other half.