Fleet News

First National Bank buys Lombard Motor Finance

ABBEY National's finance house subsidiary First National Bank has strengthened its stake in the UK motor finance market with the acquisition of Lombard Motor Finance. First National paid £347 million for LMF, Lombard Tricity Finance and Lombard Business Equipment Leasing, which between them have unaudited net assets of £219 million, and total assets of £4.3 billion.

The acquisition is the latest in a series of major deals by First National Bank in the past two years, including the purchase of Elton Vehicle Contracts, Fleet Management Services and Whitechapel Corporate Services, and Philip George, managing director of First National Bank, said no more were planned for the immediate future, ruling the bank out of the bidding for Arriva Automotive Solutions. This week's deal does not affect either the ownership of British Car Contracts, part of Lombard Asset Finance Group, or Lombard's stake in Lex Vehicle Leasing.

It does, however, make First National the dominant independent finance house in the UK motor sector, and its fastest growing sector, the used car market, where it will have a 15% share. FNMF will remain in Redhill as a separate operation to the group's contract hire and leasing division First National Vehicle Contracts, but economies of scale will be leveraged in terms of common IT and systems investment.

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