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LOMBARD Vehicle Management has staked a claim as one of Britain's largest leasing firms after purchasing the 17,800-vehicle fleet of The Leasing Group (TLG).

The deal covers cars and light commercial vehicles and follows the acquisition of TLG by Asset Investment Capital in the latest spate of consolidation in the leasing industry.

The deal takes Lombard from its current fleet size of 71,000 vehicles to more the 90,000-vehicle mark, according to figures from Fleet News' FN50 guide to the UK's contract hire and leasing industry.

TLG's owner, Lattice Group, sold the entire business to Asset Investment Capital (AIC) for £95 million of equity and outstanding loans owed by TLG to Lattice, totalling £115 million, will also be repaid in full.

AIC then sold on the 17,800- vehicle fleet to Lombard, a world player in the asset finance market and a member of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Last year, Lombard Vehicle Management was in eighth position in the FN50 list of the largest leasing companies in the UK with 71,000 vehicles. The latest acquisition takes it over the 90,000 vehicle mark. Its new position will be unveiled in the 2002 FN50, which is launched on November 6 at a special ceremony at The Cafe Royal in London.

Shankar Ramanathan, director of Lombard's Vehicle Management arm, based in Solihull, West Midlands with a customer base of more than 4,000 clients in the private and public sector said: 'This acquisition is an excellent fit with our existing customer base.

'You rarely see this size of fleet coming on the market unless it is an entire contract hire company for sale. Our expertise and comprehensive portfolio of products will ensure customers continue to receive the highest levels of service moving forward.'

The Leasing Group was formed in 1992 to bring together the vehicle procurement, management and related engineering functions of the former British Gas, running one of the largest mixed vehicle fleets in the UK.

TLG's current fleet consists of more than 25,000 vehicles and 25,000 items of plant and equipment. Large customers include Transco, Centrica, AA, BG Group, BSS, LP Gas and Chestertons.

TLG manages the vehicle fleet of Transco, the owner and operator of Britain's gas transportation network, which is part of Lattice Group, and has contracts with non-Lattice Group clients which account for two-thirds of its approximately £100 million annual turnover.

These include a 20-year £300 million contract with London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to provide and maintain about 540 Brigade vehicles and 20,000 items of operational equipment.

Fleet NewsNet understands that negotiations are still continuing about which company will take on the contracts of the fleets involved in the sale.

Paul Reilly, managing director of Asset Investment Capital, said: 'The purchase of TLG represents a significant strategic move for Asset Investment Capital. TLG's skills and experience, will combine with Asset Investment Capital's excellent track record and knowledge base, allowing us to lead the field in vehicle and equipment provision solutions for markets that need asset management solutions.'

  • Don't miss the November 7 edition of Fleet News for your copy of the FN50 2002. For more information and tickets to the FN50 dinner, click here or contact Sandra Evitt on 01733 468123
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