March

Canaccord Genuity advises Abbey on its disposal of Royal Saint Georges Banque to GE Capital Bank France

On 19 December 2003 Abbey plc announced the disposal of its French subsidiary Royal Saint George Banque ("RSGB") to GE Capital Bank France, part of GE Consumer Finance ("GECF") . The transaction is in accordance with Abbey's stated strategy of focusing solely on UK personal financial services. The sale will release total value to Abbey of approximately £56 million. This includes a cash premium of up to £27 million over net assets of £29 million. RSGB was acquired by Abbey in May 2002 for a goodwill premium of £9 million.

Based in Nantes, RSGB is a provider of specialist mortgages, primarily for debt consolidation purposes, to French Residents who fall into the 'sub prime' category. Products are distributed through brokers and IFAs. It employs 65 people, and had assets at completion of £500 million.

GECF, with more than US$95 billion in assets, is a unit of General Electric Company ("GE") , and is a leading provider of credit services to over 100 million consumers in 36 countries around the world. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, GECF offers a range of financial products, including personal loans, bank cards, leases, mortgages, debt consolidation and home equity loans. Its parent, GE, is a diversified services, technology and manufacturing company with operations worldwide.

Canaccord Genuity was appointed in January 2003 to advise on the strategic options for Abbey's French operations. As a conclusion of that process, it was decided that RSGB should be sold at the attractive price that was reached.

Canaccord Genuity's role on the sale included valuation advice, preparation of detailed marketing materials (in both English and French), conducting a full auction process (involving contact with a number of potential purchasers across continental Europe and the UK), supervising the detailed due diligence phase of the transaction.

Canaccord Genuity has acted previously for Abbey on the acquisition of Fleming Premier Banking from J P Morgan Chase in 2001, and on the disposal of its Italian mortgages business in 2003.

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