Daimler has bought European leasing firm Athlon, with a plan to rebrand and integrate its 'Daimler Fleet Management' division under the Athlon brand.
Athlon was bought for €1.1 billion from the Dutch firm Rabobank. The company services around 250,000 vehicles in eleven European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Daimler's fleet operation currently manages 85,000 vehicles in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
In the UK, the operation funds just over 10,000 vehicles, and is placed 20th in the FN50. It is separate from sister firm Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, and funds all makes of vehicles.
The acquisition means Daimler Fleet Management and Athlon are due to operate under the Athlon brand, which is set to enter the UK for the first time.
However Athlon has a strategic partnership with Lex Autolease in the UK, and it is unclear how this will be affected.
”Fleet management is a growth market and this acquisition of a strongly positioned and innovative fleet management company is a key step for us in becoming a leading fleet management services provider. It also allows us to enhance fleets with Daimler’s products and mobility offers,” said Bodo Uebber, board of management member of Daimler AG responsible for finance and controlling and financial services."
Klaus Entenmann, chairman of Daimler Financial Services AG, added: "Fleet customers expect a flexible management of their mobility needs across brands around their fleets. Rental, leasing, corporate carsharing and comprehensive reporting are key elements of our fleet management value proposition."
Frans Janssen, of Athlon International, said: "The merging of Athlon and Daimler, two strong innovative brands, will positively contribute to our ability to access an extended product and service range across Europe.”
The deal is expected to complete at the end of the year subject to regulatory approval.