The terms of the contract give Arval the right to buy the outstanding 25% stake in Ryland Multifleet and Ryland Multifleet the power to require Arval to buy the remaining quarter share. David Bourne, managing director of Ryland Multifleet, said: 'Arval has some very big customers on the continent and is hoping to bring them across to Ryland Multifleet. It's very exciting for us. If you're going to build a pan-European group you are better off owning companies than working in partnership because then you own the customers and any problems.'
Ryland Multifleet made pre-tax profits of £1.66 million in 1998, but Ryland Group has still had to provide residual value indemnities in respect of the amount of profit per vehicle achieved by Ryland Multifleet for vehicles sold between May 1 and December 31, 1999. Last month it was disclosed that Ryland was in talks to sell a majority stake in its leasing subsidiary.