Fleet News

Uncertain economic outlook prompts bank to shelve LeasePlan sale

LEASEPLAN is no longer for sale. The international leasing and fleet management giant has been taken off the market by its owner ABN AMRO.

The bank had sought buyers for its subsidiary business ABN AMRO Lease Holding (AALH), but has now decided to retain the company because of current market conditions.

Fleet News understands that fears of a global economic downturn following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11 have undermined the price that potential bidders were prepared to offer for the company.

Originally four companies were competing to buy AALH, followed by discussions with two – believed to be Volkswagen Group and GE Capital – and then final negotiations with one purchaser.

ABN AMRO is not expected to review again the ownership of AALH until 2003 at the earliest, and having completed the integration of Dial, LeasePlan is forecast to make solid net profits this year. It reported a 28 per cent rise in revenue and 48 per cent increase in profits to 77.2 million Euros, in the first half of 2001, compared to the same period in 2000. The company manages a fleet of more than 1.1 million vehicles in 24 countries, and is the UK's largest car leasing company, topping the recent FN50 table. In an official statement, Hugo Levecke, chairman and CEO of AALH, said: 'I am very happy with the bank's decision to retain AALH as part of the ABN AMRO Group. This decision will allow us to continue to have the support of the Bank, while remaining an independent and profitable subsidiary, which has been our formula for success throughout the years.'

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