'Formal discussions have now started and the board believes these are progressing well. Such a disposal, if it proceeds, will be on terms that substantially reduce Ryland's gearing,' said chairman Peter Whale. It is understood that the talks are with a foreign company which has European leasing interests but presently no involvement in the UK market. Fleet NewsNet also understands that any deal is likely to be announced in the next two to three weeks.
Last year Ryland Multifleet's vehicle parc increased 31% year-on-year and Whale said 'it managed to beat the worst of declining used car values' with the business contributing 'a modestly reduced' 9% of gross profit. The admission that Ryland is looking to sell part of its leasing business will further intensify the merger and acquisition speculation in the leasing industry which has gone on unabated for more than two years. The likely majority stake sale comes just two weeks after it was announced that Arriva Automotive Solutions was back on the market.