The global financing company has highlighted EMEA for growth. Claire Hack reports.
GE Capital has appointed Elmar Lukas as managing director for its equipment financing business in EMEA, as the company repositions globally and looks to focus on areas where it is a recognised leader.
Lukas, former commercial leader for GE Capital’s leasing business in Germany, will be responsible for the equipment financing portfolio and for leasing strategy across the region.
Isabel Fernandez, chief commercial officer for GE Capital in EMEA, said: “GE Capital has a long history in equipment finance and leasing. It is a core market for us and one where we are investing for our customers.
“The appointment, combined with our investment in technology, and our pan-European expertise, will help our customers as they return to growth mode.”
Lukas’ new position, reporting to Fernandez, was created specifically to support expansion in equipment leasing across Europe, and will be followed by new hires to cover risk, marketing and pricing.
“I plan to leverage our pan-European coverage to add more value to our partners and customers,” Lukas said. “We will also leverage the existing organisation to drive growth, and revisit segments and industries in which we see potential.”
Profits up 44%
The appointment came as GE Capital revenue dropped 6%, and after-tax profit rose 44% to $2.3bn (€1.7bn) in the year-on-year to end-September.
In Europe this year, the company acquired Royal Bank of Scotland’s factoring businesses in France and Germany, and in America it bought Citi Retail Partner Cards sales finance portfolios for $1.6bn. GE Capital profits were up 518% to $871m in the three months to end-September compared to the same period a year earlier.
Commenting on the results, Jeff Immelt, CEO and chairman of parent company General Electric (GE), said: “Higher core income and lower losses indicate business has turned the corner and our efforts over the past 18 months to strengthen the franchise are paying off.
“GE Capital is well positioned with respect to Basel III capital requirements and we expect earnings growth in our financial services business to continue.”
GE Capital’s commercial lending and leasing division, one of five units within the financing business, achieved growth in profit of 62% to $987m in the nine months to end-September.
Energy financial services, whose activities include leasing, also increased profit, by 85% to $334m for the period. GE Capital’s strong profits were cited as helping to offset earnings declines in other parts of GE, including a fall of 13% at its technology infrastructure business.
Lukas was formerly aircraft leader for GE Capital in EMEA, and helped to grow the corporate aircraft leasing portfolio fivefold in five years. Before joining GE, he worked in the leasing in Germany, and holds an MBA from the University of Hamburg.