The relationship effectively ended when LVL rival Ryland Multifleet was bought by Arval, the car leasing subsidiary of French bank BNP Paribas. Arval is the French arm of the international Frontier Lease alliance. Arval's alliance with PHH Vehicle Management and the strong pan-European alliance of Lease Plan and Dial, which is waiting to receive EC approval, has made the creation of a pan-European arm for LVL even more important.
Lease Plan is active in 19 European countries in addition to Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA and Brazil, while Dial has operations in France, Spain and Italy and an alliance through Auto Leasing Europa in nearly 20 countries. PHH's alliance with Arval would give it coverage in Germany and Ireland through current PHH operations - new launches in Austria and Switzerland are planned this year - while Arval has coverage in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Jon Walden, managing director of LVL, said: 'We are pursuing an acquisition in Europe, which could mean the purchase of individual leasing companies in different countries or taking on a pan-European leasing company. Our interest is in being the best, not the biggest, and that is the position we have always taken. But we see customers increasingly asking for a pan-European solution and that is driving us forward. Outside the UK, we don't have the coverage we need and we have to get started on that.'