Australia: BMW AG said to be among bidders for top car finance division image

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s car and equipment loan unit, worth in excess of $6 billion, is being courted by Australia’s Macquarie Group, BMW AG and several U.S. private equity firms.

The German automaker, the world’s largest when it comes to luxury vehicles, and the country’s biggest investment banks have asked for information memorandums for the sale, according to a person that is involved in the purchase process. The source, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, added the unit is also interesting for buyout firms TPG, Blackstone and Carlyle. Esanda, the car finance unit, is expected to nail a higher acquisition price than its book value of loans, according to the source, with the latter being estimated at Australian dollars 8.3 billion – or $6.35 billion. There is strong international interest for the finance division even as the stock markets have been tumbling on worries that Greece might financially default – the so called Grexit. Asked to comment, BMW spokespersons declined to reveal any detail about what they usually call speculation.

Financial units are becoming increasingly crucial for automakers, which are expanding their limited business services – primarily consisting from manufacturing and selling vehicles in a procedure called “fire and forget.” Now they want to reach beyond that directly to customers, proposing ways of securing a buyer for more than one purchase – which are easily achieved through loans or a lending. BMW, together with its rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz, have also become interested in Nokia Oij’s mapping services Here, which could pave way to several new acquisitions for the group.

Via Reuters