Societe Generale has reached an agreement to sell its professional equipment financing business to BPCE for €1.1bn.  

This move, which is part of a strategic divestment, will see most of Societe Generale Equipment Finance (SGEF) activities transferred to the French rival, excluding those in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 

SGEF is known for its customised financing and leasing solutions to distributors, traders and manufacturers, as well as companies operating in transport, industrial equipment, technology, medical and renewable energy industries. 

With operations in 25 countries, it has an annual new business volume exceeding €6bn and global outstandings of €15bn as of December 2023. 

BPCE, which claims to be the second-largest equipment leasing company in France, anticipates that this acquisition will elevate it to the position of the European leader in equipment financing solutions, excluding the auto sector.  

The integration of SGEF’s expertise is expected to complement BPCE’s existing leasing operations, particularly in France, Italy, and Spain. 

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For Societe Generale, this sale is part of efforts to refine the business model, enhance synergies, and improve efficiency while bolstering the group’s capital base. 

Societe Generale Equipment Finance CEO Odile de Saivre said: “Within Societe Generale, SGEF has developed its international activities to achieve a unique geographical coverage. SGEF’s employees are recognised experts who work with our customers and partners to build innovative equipment financing solutions.  

“With the proposed Groupe BPCE project, I am delighted to open a new chapter firmly oriented towards growth, thanks to the strong alignment of our activities.” 

BPCE CEO Nicolas Namias said: “Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France, is already active in equipment leasing through the BPCE Lease subsidiary, managed by Didier Trupin. Looking ahead to the group’s new strategic plan, this transaction underscores our growth ambitions in Europe, intensifies our revenue diversification and changes our dimensions in this business.  

“The choice of investing in this growing business serves the goal of financing the real economy, strengthens the group’s offering for the energy transition and the real economy, and is consistent with our cooperative nature.” 

Subject to regular customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2025.  

In July 2023, SGEF selected technology and software provider Odessa to streamline operations using the latter’s full-service cloud solution.