Fleet News

For Sale signs go up at ACL autolease and Motorent

FURTHER signs of consolidation in the turbulent contract hire sector emerged today after Standard Chartered announced the possible sale of Chartered Trust and its vehicle leasing subsidiaries ACL autolease and Motorent.

The parent company has appointed Goldman Sachs to evaluate disposal options as part of a wider-ranging strategic review of its operations.

Standard Chartered Group chief Executive Rana Talwar said the company's new focus was biased towards emerging markets.

'A recent review demonstrated that the business has excellent potential for further value creation,' said Talwar. 'However, the board has decided to explore the strategic options available for the future development of Chartered Trust. This will include the possible sale of the business to a group that may be better placed to exploit the opportunities in the UK market.'

ACL autolease managing director Simon Richmond added: 'The company represents an excellent investment opportunity for a potential purchaser interested in developing their businesses in the UK and Europe.

'We are committed fully to maintaining a high level of service to our customers and we will inform our staff and customers of any developments as soon as we are able to do so.'

With 54,000 vehicles on its fleet and turnover of some £176 million last year, the acquisition of Birmingham-based ACL would allow any one of the 'leasing superleague' players to establish a clear lead over its rivals.

The announcement follows a similar statement from Highway Vehicle Management's owners, Great Universal Stores, which put the 20,000-vehicle contract hire company on the market earlier this month and comes amid a backdrop of merger mania as larger companies like PHH Vehicle Management and Lease Plan dash for growth with acquisitions and strategic alliances.

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