The deal is their first foray into the car leasing market, following the trend for banks and finance houses to move into the sector with expectations of a rise in corporate and personal leasing.
Bury-based Elton, which operates more than 7,000 vehicles, will be renamed First National Vehicle Contracts. However, its three trading subsidiaries - Elton Vehicle Contracts, FTL and Kelda Contract Hire - will retain their present identities. Elton was established in 1985 as the financial services division of multi-franchise dealership business, the RRG Group with Dennis Studholme, brought in from Lloyds Bowmaker, as managing director.He has overseen the company's expansion and it now employs 60 staff in Newcastle and Horsham. Elton has also acquired the contract hire portfolios of Motorama Leasing, Grimshaw leasing, Jenlease, Corner Contracts and Motorway Contracts.
Studholme, who remains as MD, said: 'With the capital backing of Abbey National, we will be able to make a much bigger impact in a vastly untapped market. We hope to market the personal leasing service to First National Bank and Abbey National's customers.'
First National Vehicle Contracts Chairman Philip George said that the UK car leasing market was expected to grow by around 16% by the year 2000.