GE to cash in and lend out

Global company General Electric will use cash raised from the sale of its Australian and New Zealand properties - up to $1.5 billion - to build its lending business.

Global company General Electric will use cash raised from the sale of its Australian and New Zealand properties - up to $1.5 billion - to build its lending business.

The group has confirmed it is well into the sale process and is talking to several parties.

While it will not comment on speculation, GE Capital has been selling up to seven key properties since September.

Among the assets are 90 Collins Street and 636 St Kilda Road.

Agents suggested the group had signed a deal with US investor Blackstone - but GE Capital denied these reports.

However, agents believe a deal is close and the bulk of the sales process and negotiations are being run by GE Capital's US head office and its Australian real estate office.

There was speculation Mirvac and possibly Dexus were looking at some of the properties, while larger groups, including Blackstone and Asian investor Pacific Alliance, are believed to be interested in the entire portfolio.

Given the time taken to reach an agreement, there also have been suggestions the portfolio could be split into two tranches to cater for local and overseas appetite.

Blackstone, which raised $US13.3 billion in November, has made little secret of wanting to expand its global property portfolio. It already has a strong presence in Australia through Valad Property.

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