Fleet News

Deutsche Bank makes £39.6m bid for BCH

THE fleet subsidiaries of the German Deutsche Bank have bid £39.6 million for contract hire and fleet management company BCH Vehicle Management. The deal has yet to be approved by BCH's shareholders, but is expected to get the go-ahead having been recommended by the Bristol-based company's directors, senior managers and other parties who between them own 19.1% of the shares.

Deutsche Bank's entry into the UK contract hire and leasing market dramatically increases its European presence and, completes for the moment, the radical shake-up in the British leasing industry which has involved a number of major financial institutions including the Halifax, Abbey National, Standard Chartered, Arriva and General Universal Stores. BCH floated on the Stock Exchange in November 1997 following a management buyout in December 1995 at 190p per share, but its share price has suffered the impact of the City's nervousness about future leasing profits.

At one point BCH shares fell to 127.5p, making it vulnerable to a predatory takeover bid, but had rallied to 169.5p by the time Deutsche Bank's ALD AutoLeasing and DB Vehicle Solutions - a new company formed to make the offer - made their offer of 250p per share plus a 5p special dividend. Shares immediately rose 28.5p to 246p. ALD Autoleasing is Germany's largest non-manufacturer vehicle leasing group, running a 110,000-strong fleet, and a further 12,000 vehicles in France. It also has an office in the Czech Republic, operates via Deutsche Bank affiliates in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and it was a founding member of the Interleasing consortium of vehicle leasing companies which covers 12 European countries.

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