Fleet News

Lease Plan to buy Dial for £269m

LEASE Plan has announced a £269 million plan to purchase Dial Group from Barclays Bank to create the largest contract hire company in the UK. The proposed acquisition includes Dial operations in France and Spain and UK small-fleet subsidiary Network Vehicles.

It is subject to clearance by the European Commission, which is expected to take less a month. The buyout is the latest round of consolidation in the industry and follows last week's $1 billion joint venture between PHH Europe and Arval Service Lease. PHH/Arval briefly became Europe's largest leasing firm, with 545,000 vehicles, but the Lease Plan takeover creates a 595,000-vehicle pan-European fleet.

Lease Plan, owned by Dutch Bank ABN AMRO, has a presence in 25 countries, a global fleet of 630,000 vehicles and was ranked third in the FN Top 50 survey of contract hire companies. Dial, ranked fourth in the same survey, operates 115,000 vehicles in the UK, Spain, France and Italy and brings the Lease Plan fleet to 745,000 vehicles worldwide. Howard Thomas, managing director of Lease Plan and senior vice president of Lease Plan Group, will become chairman of Dial in the UK. Mike Betts, managing director of Dial Contracts, retains his role and reports to Thomas.

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