GE Says 2010 Is 'Comeback Year' For Loans

Financial division said analysis of 2010 shows it was the 'comeback year' for leveraged loans, with total volume more than tripling to $288 billion.

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) -- General Electric Co.'s financial division said its analysis of 2010 shows it was the "comeback year" for leveraged loans, with total volume more than tripling from the year before to $288 billion.

GE Capital Markets, the financial subsidiary, said Tuesday the leveraged loan market should continue to be strong through 2011. The division specializes in making commercial loans and leases to mid-sized businesses in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"As the economy rebounded (in 2010) and loan defaults eased, liquidity flowed back into the loan market and investors, including GE Capital, were eager to lend," GE Capital Markets managing director Sage Nakamura said in a statement.

"The surge in investor demand for these types of loans that began at midyear last year is still picking up speed in early 2011," he said.

General Electric, a Fairfield, Conn.-based conglomerate, reported last month its fourth-quarter net income increased 52 percent as GE earned more money in both its lending and industrial businesses. GE Capital, which dealt with fewer loan defaults, saw a surge in activity in the last three months of the year, posting quarterly income of $1.1 billion, up from $99 million in the 2009 quarter. Loan volume increased 30 percent, and losses and impairments dropped by $300 million from the third quarter.

Shares of General Electric rose 33 cents to $21.20 during midday trading.

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