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GE Money Bank sale to value company at up to $1.67 billion

The logo of the GE Money Bank is seen behind a traffic light in Prague May 29, 2012. REUTERS/David W Cerny
The logo of the GE Money Bank is seen behind a traffic light in Prague May 29, 2012. REUTERS/David W Cerny

ZURICH (Reuters) - General Electric's flotation of its GE Money Bank is expected to value the Swiss consumer finance business at up to 1.53 billion Swiss francs ($1.67 billion), in a further step in the U.S. firm's retreat from the finance sector.

GE Money Bank expects to raise up to 1.05 billion Swiss francs from the share sale it said on Wednesday, in what will be Switzerland's first flotation in a year.

GE Capital, a subsidiary of General Electric, plans to sell up to 18 million shares, or 60 percent of Zurich-based Money Bank.

General Electric has said it aims to shift its earnings mix to 70 percent industrial and 30 percent financial. The company has already sold its consumer credit business in Austria and Germany to Spanish bank Santander .

GE's banking business, GE Capital, which has a consumer finance and banking business specialized in credit cards, personal loans, auto financing and savings, contributed 45 percent of GE's earnings in 2012.

Money Bank said it expects to price each of the shares in the sale, planned for October 30, at between 43 and 51 Swiss francs for a market capitalization of up to 1.53 billion Swiss francs.

Shares in financial services peers, such as Close Brothers , Provident Financial or Capital One , trade at an average of around 12 times estimated forward earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Money Bank's targeted pricing will put its price/earnings multiple at around 11 times, thus giving a discount of around 10 percent.

Money Bank, which will change its name to Cembra Money Bank at the sale, is aiming to entice investors by proposing a dividend equivalent to between 5 and 7 percent of its share price.

"If you are looking for a stock with a yield of 5 percent, then you can't go wrong here," one fund manager told Reuters. "I think it's an interesting alternative to traditional banking shares."

Money Bank, which employs more than 700 people and has 25 branches, is active in personal loans, vehicle financing, credit cards and insurance services, recording a net profit of 133 million francs in 2012.

GE Capital will keep a minority stake in the Swiss lender for a period of one year and plans to reduce the stake over time.

Credit Suisse is sole global coordinator and joint bookrunner for the offering, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank are joint book runners. Bank Vontobel is co-lead manager. ($1 = 0.9160 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian, Oliver Hirt and Rupert Pretterklieber; Editing by David Cowell and Jane Merriman)

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