CIT Group provides financing and related services to just
about everybody, from small businesses to the world's largest
multinational corporations. With finance products ranging from
acquisition financing and asset management to venture capital and
vendor financing, CIT operates across 30 industries in 50
countries, including North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia,
Australia and New Zealand. The company, which itself is ranked No.
306 on the Fortune 500, does business with a majority of the
Fortune 1000 companies and, by the end of 2007, managed over $80
billion in assets.
CIT's business can be broken down into four
main segments. Corporate finance provides lending, leasing, and
other financial and advisory services to middle-market companies,
with a focus on specific industries, including health care, energy,
communications, media and entertainment. The trade finance division
provides factoring and other trade and financial products to
companies in the retail supply chain. Transportation finance
provides lending, leasing and other banking services to the rail as
well as aerospace and defense industries. Vendor finance provides
financing solutions to manufacturers, distributors and other
intermediaries, including Avaya, Dell, Microsoft, Snap-on and
Ups and Downs
Founded in 1908, CIT has weathered a
somewhat rocky past under the ownership of numerous companies. It
is probably best known for its affiliation with Tyco, which in
2002, embroiled in corporate scandals, spun off CIT. Out from under
its beleaguered owner, CIT has grown over the past few years
through acquisitions, including units from GE Commercial Services,
HSBC Bank and CitiCapital.
Today, it is a global commercial finance
company, providing financing solutions, leasing products and
advisory services to commercial and consumer clients around the
world. Especially strong in factoring, vendor financing, equipment
and transportation financing, small business administration loans
and asset-based lending, CIT is a Fortune 500 company and member of
the S&P 500 Index.
The firm went through some new expansion
efforts in early 2007. CIT announced plans to open offices in
Shanghai and Singapore, and it bought Barclays' vendor finance
business in England and Germany. It's managed to keep busy in other
ways, too. In April 2007, the firm filed an IPO of $275 million for
the real estate investment trust Care Investment Trust. Within the
same month, CIT Chairman and CEO Jeff Peek told Investment Dealers'
Digest about a few other new developments the firm has on tap for
the future, such as an agreement to finance Microsoft's software
sales and the recent hiring of a loan specialist team "to look for
distressed debt when we find something that is of value."
Closing up shop
If things looked rosy in the early part of
2007, they didn't stay that way for long. The company closed its
home lending origination business, which was impacted by the market
decline in subprime mortgages. All in all a $134.5 million decrease
in profits was reported in the second quarter and the stock price
continued to decline into the late months of 2007. Closing the home
lending business also meant bad news for some CIT employees: 550
jobs were cut in over 25 offices around the country.