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STAMFORD, CT-GE Capital reports that it has officially launched a new $9 billion business unit–GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services–a division that will provide real estate financing, equipment leasing, capital lending and equity investing to the healthcare industry.

GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services, which is headquartered in Chicago at 500 West Monroe St., brings together functions from various GE Capital units as well as from Heller Financial, which GE Capital acquired in October 2001. The company’s headquarters space was formerly occupied by Heller Financial, according to a company spokesperson. GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services, which has $9 billion in assets, employs approximately 75 workers at its 30,000-sf Chicago headquarters. The company also employs approximately 30 workers at its Danbury, CT. office. In total, the new unit of GE Capital has a workforce of nearly 600 employees with offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

GE Capital, which has assets of more than $425 billion, is headquartered in Stamford, CT.

“The healthcare market is a large and growing one, both domestically and internationally, providing strong opportunities for quality financial service providers,” said Denis J. Nayden, chairman and chief executive officer of GE Capital. “We believe the combination of our deep industry expertise, wide range of products and services and core focus on helping customers to achieve their business objectives, will clearly differentiate us in all sectors of this growing marketplace.”

GE Capital officials cite figures from The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a government regulatory agency, to show the scope of the healthcare market in the U.S. and abroad. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated the size of the U.S. healthcare market at $1.4 trillion for 2001 and projects growth of seven percent annually through 2010. In addition, GE Capital estimates the size of the international market at $3.5 trillion in 2002 with a 3% annual growth rate.

Rick Wolfter, president and chief executive officer of GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services notes, “Our goal is to be the industry’s most dependable partner and trusted advisor when it comes to financing decisions within healthcare. Our intent is to use our financial expertise and industry knowledge to help customers improve their profitability, productivity and competitive position.”

A company spokesperson says that while the company was officially launched on June 19, the unit has been in operation for about six months gearing up for its official launch. In fact, the unit has closed on several financing deals. The most recent transaction, was with Comdisco, a Rosemont, Il-based technology services firm, which sold its healthcare leasing assets in the United States to GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services. The first closing for $117 million, including the assumption of $46 million in related secured debt and other liabilities was reported on June 13. A second closing for up to $33 million, including up to approximately $6 million in related secured debt, is scheduled to take place by June 30, 2002.

In May, the new GE unit closed a deal with American Retirement Corp., of Nashville, Tenn., for $95.7 million in mortgage debt on three of its retirement communities. Also that month, GE Capital Healthcare Financial Services participated in a $17 million deal to finance Catilus Capital Management’s purchase of methadone treatment clinics in six states.

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