Andy Mitchell, FMC's managing director, said acquisition was clearly on the agenda for the company as it sought further growth, after FMC bought Countrywide Contract Motoring in April. 'Consolidation is a buzzword in our industry, but time after time it is the larger leasing companies which are seen to be acquisitive,' he said. 'I believe the real opportunities exist for companies such as First Mutual Contracts which are able to increase their fleet size considerably by acquiring smaller, quality independent businesses which share our business culture.'
Brian Knight, founder and managing director of Hazelwood, said that the company needed a partner with extra resources to continue its development, and had a long term funding arrangement with the Bank of Scotland, owner of FMC. 'The complementary nature of Hazelwood values and that of FMC will create new business and career opportunities and we are delighted that we have found a partner whose culture and business aspirations so closely match ours,' he said.
FMC has promised a gradual takeover, keeping key Hazelwood staff on a contractual basis and running Hazelwood's Northampton office for the time being, although the Hazelwood name will disappear.