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LaSer and Cetelem reorganise their business activities in Europe to increase their growth capacity

Cetelem, the leader in consumer finance in continental Europe, and LaSer, the leading provider of financial intermediation services, customer relation and loyalty services in Europe, have decided to give birth to major national players in three European countries, Portugal, Poland and Belgium, by bringing together their current subsidiaries. This move represents another important step that should enable Cetelem and LaSer increase the pace of its international growth, within the framework of a shareholder agreement signed in 2005.

Creation of three major national players in consumer finance

Portugal: creation of the number 1
Cetelem Portugal acquires Credifin (LaSer subsidiary in Portugal) to create the number 1 player on the market. The new entity employs 700 people and posted €1,270M in outstanding loans at end of 2007. This new leader presents a well-balanced position in all facets of consumer finance: point-of-sale (retail and automobile) direct-to-customer and on-line credit.

Belgium: creation of the number 3
Cetelem Belgium takes over Fidexis (LaSer subsidiary in Belgium) to create the number 3 player on the market. The new entity employs 250 people and posted €460M in outstanding loans at end of 2007. Its portfolio contains over 500,000 customers.

Poland: creation of the number 4
Sygma Bank (LaSer subsidiary in Poland) acquires Cetelem Poland and becomes LaSer Polska thus creating a new entity that employs 1,450 people and posted €710M in outstanding loans at end of 2007. The company's growth trend was strong in 2007 with outstanding loans up 90%, well above market levels (up 55% over the same period).

These operations in Portugal, Belgium and Poland, give both Cetelem and LaSer the opportunity to step up the pace of their growth in Europe by relying on bigger more competitive companies which span the entire range of consumer finance products and distribution channels.
In each of these countries LaSer and Cetelem's historic partners will thus be able to work with a single player, which is consolidated by this operation.
Beyond the growth of both groups, synergies will be possible in countries where LaSer and Cetelem have footholds. Four overarching principles govern the capitalisation of the specific know-how of each company:
- Laser Loyalty, LaSer's customer loyalty management activity, will be Cetelem's special partner,
- Effico, Cetelem's loan redemption and debt collection activity, will be LaSer's special partner,
- Cetelem will be able to promote its automotive finance business in the countries where LaSer is established and rely on its resources,
- LaSer will be able to promote direct customer acquisition and rely on Cetelem infrastructures.

(1) About Cetelem and BNP Paribas Personal Finance
Cetelem was the pioneer of consumer credit in 1953 and on-line credit in 1997 and is now the market leader in France and Continental Europe.
In January 2008 Cetelem and UCB, major player in mortgage lending in France and Europe, brought together their activities and gave birth to BNP Paribas Personal Finance, the leading credit specialist player in Europe (consumer and mortgage lending) with €100B in outstanding loans under management and nearly 25,000 people.
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About LaSer
A leading provider of financial intermediation and customer relation services in Europe, LaSer has a broad vision of customer relations, combining a full range of card and customer loan capabilities (LaSer Cofinoga) with unique skills in managing customer relations and nurturing customer loyalty (LaSer Loyalty).
LaSer is equally held by the Galeries Lafayette group and BNP Paribas Personal Finance.
Number 1 in Europe within the proprietary card sector with 10 million registered customers, LaSer also holds the leading position in France for customer loyalty services through its role in the partnership with S'Miles®. With operations in Europe – France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Denmark, LaSer employs over 9,000 people achieving a turnover of over €1.9B in 2007.
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