GE Capital Finance to be renamed Latitude Financial
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GE Capital Finance is the company behind some retailers interest free offers. Photo: Louise Kennerley
GE Capital Finance, the company behind Harvey Norman’s interest free offers and until recently Coles credit cards, has been renamed Latitude Financial Services by its new private owners.
Värde Partners, Deutsche Bank and KKR, which is finalising the $8.2 billion purchase of the biggest consumer retail finance company in the country, also said Sean Morrissey had been appointed CEO designate of Latitude.
Mr Morrissey has been GE executive since 2000, most recently as chairman and CEO of GE Money Bank in the Czech Republic.
“We are excited to have Sean join to head an already strong leadership team. Sean’s established record of growing businesses, proven leadership capabilities, and international experience will complement the local team’s deep Australian and New Zealand market knowledge and capabilities,” said said Ed Bostock, director of KKR Australia, said in a statement on behalf of the consortium.
“Working together, we are confident that they will maximise the company’s growth.”
Mr Morrissey and Mr Bostock refused to comment before the completion of the sale to the consortium.
“I am very excited by the growth potential of Latitude Financial Services and the opportunity we now have to further invest and build on its current strengths,” Mr Morrissey said in the statement.
“The business is a world-class company with deep customer relationships, innovative products, strong brands and an experienced and talented team of employees.”
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Latitude offers personal loans, credit cards and interest free retail finance and has more than 2.5 million customers.
Once interest free periods end, rates kick in at close to 30 per cent.
Värde, KKR and Deutsche Bank won the bidding to buy GE Capital’s Australian and NZ consumer finance division in March. Rival consortia included Macquarie Group with non-bank lender Pepper Group. Rival consortia included Macquarie Group and non-bank lender Pepper Group; private equity house TPG with Liberty Financial; Blackstone’s tactical opportunities team, sovereign wealth fund, Singapore’s GIC, and Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; and Apollo Asset Management.
Mr Bostock all of its products and services will remain under the company following its transition to a standalone business.
However, in May Wesfarmers ended a 20-year relationship with GE Capital following the deal when it bought out GE’s 50 per cent share of Wesfarmers Finance.
Wesfamers balance sheet is now used for all of Coles financial services, including credit cards, insurance and personal loans.
Latitude is also facing increasing competition from global and local online players.