GMAC already has European contract hire operations with 17,000 vehicles under the MasterLease brand in Germany, Portugal and Greece and is in the process of setting up companies in Spain and Italy. In the UK, it owns Vauxhall Master Hire Leasing in a joint venture with NFC.
Richard Clout, GMAC executive vice-president for international operations, said: 'The acquisition of AAS is consistent with our growing presence in the leasing market in continental Europe and with GMAC's global strategy to expand operations in the full-service leasing sector of our business.' Len Clayton, managing director of AAS, described GMAC as a 'brilliant partner', saying it met the three ideal criteria for any new owner: a real appetite and ambition in the contract hire market; a clear strategic vision for where it wanted AAS to develop; and a company with no duplication of resources in the UK.
AAS runs a multi-marque fleet of 66,000 vehicles, 52,000 of them on contract hire, positioning it among the top five leasing firms in this country. Clayton will stay with the company and resign as a main board director of Arriva if the deal receives both shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for July 5 and Europpean Union competition clearance.