Fleet News

First National faces sell-off speculation

FIRST National Vehicle Holdings, Britain's fifth largest leasing firm, could be sold within months as part of a major review being carried out by its owner Abbey National.

The banking giant has appointed NM Rothschild, the investment bank, to advise on the sale of the contract hire operation, which has a fleet of about 75,000 funded vehicles A spokesman for Abbey National said it was felt the contract hire operation focus on large business clients did not fit with the bank's increasing focus on smaller companies.

The review, which only involves FNVH, aims to find a price for the company, a process that involves attracting interest from potential buyers.

A spokesman for Abbey National said: 'We are undertaking a full strategic review of the business, which may or may not result in it being sold.'

Last year, FNVH chief executive James Sturt-Scobie predicted that the leasing market would be dominated by a three-strong superleague of contract hire and leasing companies, as he re-emphasised the firm's commitment to reach a fleet of 100,000 vehicles by 2005.

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