Fleet News

Axus International buys Alexanders for £14.4m

LEASING and fleet management company Axus International has bought Alexanders Contract Rentals for £14.4 million. The deal is subject to the approval of the shareholders of ACR's parent Alexanders Holdings on September 2, and is the latest in a series of takeovers in the contract hire industry.

Axus is the multi-marque leasing operation of Ford Financial Services Group, and runs 20,000 vehicles in the UK, while Northampton-based ACR, which also has a branch office in Edinburgh, has a fleet of 4,800 vehicles on contract hire. ACR has been unable to expand as quickly as it wanted over the past three years due to the financial constraints of its parent, despite achieving pre-tax profits of £2.45 million for the year to March 31, 1998.

In February Alexanders Holdings announced pre-tax losses of £987,000 for the six months to September 30, 1997, and said it was in discussions with a potential buyer for its contract hire business. Commenting on the acquisition, Allan Calverley, managing director of ACR, said: 'I am exceedingly pleased, as are the rest of my team, and we are looking forward to a brighter future without the financial limitations of Alexander Holdings. The biggest single attraction is that Axus is an international organisation, and as the business world gets smaller pan-European dealing will become more influential.'

James Cohen, director of business development at Axus International, said there was a good fit between the two companies, with ACR focused on small and medium-sized regional fleets, while Axus UK concentrated on medium and large fleets in the south east. No job losses are expected.

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