HFC Bank plc

16 Jul 1999

HFC BANK ANNOUNCES NEW INTERNET CREDIT CARD

HFC BANK ANNOUNCES NEW INTERNET CREDIT CARD WITH FREESERVE

Simmons & Simmons advised HFC Bank plc ("HFC"), a leading co-branded credit card issuer and a subsidiary of Household International, Inc., in connection with the launch of a new co-branded Internet based credit card with Freeserve plc ("Freeserve"), the UK's leading Internet services provider and a subsidiary of Dixons Group plc.

The credit card will carry a competitive interest rate and will give holders benefits including the ability to access their account details and pay their bills online. Customers will be able to apply and receive an acceptance decision online. Subject to meeting certain financial targets the deal provides Freeserve with:

commission payments of £5 million plus interest payable over the term of the contract
additional commission for each new account opened, and commission profit share in respect of customer transactions going forward.
As part of the Agreement, HFC will have rights to market the card to Freeserve's rapidly expanding membership. As at 26 June 1999 Freeserve had 1.32 million active registered users.

This is the latest in a number of financial services products launched by HFC on which Simmons & Simmons has advised, including the launch of the GM Card in conjunction with General Motors and HFC's joint venture with British Gas with the launch of the Goldfish Credit Card. Additionally, Simmons & Simmons only recently advised HFC on its merger with Beneficial Bank PLC with the passing of a private act of parliament. This follows the completion last year of the US$8.6 billion merger of Household International, Inc. and Beneficial Corporation on which Simmons & Simmons also advised.

The Simmons & Simmons team was led by partner Charles Fuller (Corporate) and assisted by Chris Turner (Corporate), partner Nick Cronkshaw and Lisa Cristie (Tax), Mark Robinson (Intellectual Property), Lawrence Haines (Information Technology) and Zoe Fountain (Commercial), as well as by HFC's in-house lawyers Andrew Rodie and Stephen Young.

Charles Fuller commented:

"We are delighted to once again be of assistance to HFC in bringing another innovative product to the UK market place."

Freeserve were advised by the Dixons Group in-house legal team and were assisted on certain Internet based issues by John Ensor from Olswang.

ENDS Notes for editors:

1. Simmons & Simmons is worldclass law firm with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York with over 1,400 staff worldwide. For further information on Simmons & Simmons please visit our website at www.simmons-simmons.com.

2. The Corporate Department at Simmons & Simmons comprises over 220 legal staff (115 in London), including 47 partners (27 in London). It advises on the whole range of corporate finance activity, and mergers and acquisitions as well as other corporate law matters for listed and unlisted companies, in the United Kingdom and overseas.