Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Avco Corp. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Avco Corp.

List of Deals

Avco Corporation was organized as the Aviation Corporation in Delaware on March 1, 1929. Its name was changed to Avco Manufacturing Corporation on March 25, 1947, and to Avco Corporation on April 10, 1959. Avco maintained its registered office in Wilmington, Delaware, and its principal executive offices were located in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Avco's business activities were conducted to a great extent by subsidiaries and were highly diversified. Business included the manufacture of commercial products such as aircraft engines and components, industrial abrasives and specialized farming equipment, production for the U.S. government of a variety of defense and aerospace equipment, the supplying of consumer loan and other financial services, radio and television broadcasting, motion picture production and distribution, and research and development activities.

Avco also maintained subsidiaries engaged in life, accident, and health insurance, various annuity insurance fields, and majority interests in a credit card company and two land-development concerns.

During World War II, Avco and its subsidiaries and affiliates were one of the nation's major producers of defense material, principally aircraft and naval equipment. In the ten-year period immediately following the war, Avco was engaged chiefly in the production and sale of a wide range of consumer appliances, commercial aircraft engines, and farm implements. Avco entered the radio and television broadcasting business in 1946 with its purchase of Crosley Broadcasting Corporation. Reginald Palmer and Ninian Sanderson founded Delta Acceptance Corporation Limited in 1954 in London to finance the receivables of Palmer's appliance store. A group of U.S. investors who were associated with the Paul Revere Life Company soon became interested in Delta and made an equity investment. That cash injection spurred Delta's growth in the U.K., which prompted investors in the United States to purchase the company in 1956.

In 1956 Avco discontinued most of its consumer-goods business, and since that time a major portion of Avco's industrial facilities were devoted to research, development, and production for government agencies, primarily in the aircraft and aerospace fields.

Avco Delta Corporation had no business operations prior to December 1963, when it acquired control of Avco Delta Corporation Canada Limited (formerly Avco Delta Acceptance Corporation Limited), of Ontario, Canada. Avco Delta had both Canadian and U.S. Consumer Finance Divisions that specialized in making personal consumer loans, but they also operated in the sales finance field by purchasing retail installment sales obligations covering appliances and other consumer goods and services from dealers.

Avco Delta acquired the Seaboard Finance Company in 1969. Seaboard was a leading West Coast consumer-finance institution that opened its first office in Los Angeles in 1927. Although still based in Los Angeles at the time of its acquisition by Avco Delta, Seaboard was expanding internationally. The merger between Seaboard and Avco Delta was completed in 1971, at which time Avco Corp. named the resulting division Avco Financial Services, Inc.

Avco Financial Services Inc.'s lending operations, most of which were carried on through subsidiaries, were conducted in two major areas of the finance business: consumer loans and sales finance. As of 1972, the company and its subsidiaries operated 1,383 offices located in forty-seven states of the United States, all Canadian provinces, four Australian states, and the Australian Capital Territory. The company planned to expand its services into real estate mortgage financing, leasing of business equipment, and other related activities.

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