Fleet News

Abbey National sets out for top six place in fleet sector

ABBEY National is to continue to expand its vehicle leasing and fleet management business following last week's surprise acquisition of Fleet Management Services. The acquisition for an undisclosed sum, through its wholly-owned subsidiary First National Vehicle Holdings, more than doubled the company's fleet to 31,000 vehicles, the majority of which are funded, and took it to 12th place in the league table of the UK's top contract hire companies.

However, ambitious FNVH managing director Dennis Studholme, wants to see Abbey National's top six placing in the banking sector replicated in vehicle leasing. While some of that growth will come organically, Studholme remains on the acquisition trail and, although it is unlikely that the company will make any further purchases this year more deals are set to follow in 1999.

The growth of the Abbey National subsidiary comes as the leading players in the UK contract hire and leasing sector polarise into two sectors - bank or finance company-owned and manufacturer-owned. The only one of the top six banks not to own a vehicle leasing company is the Halifax and with at least two major contract hire and leasing companies known to be for sale - Arriva Vehicle Solutions and Autolease - it may not be long before Lloyds-TSB, Barclays Bank, NatWest Bank, HSBC and Abbey National is joined by the Halifax.

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