Fleet News

Abbey tight-lipped on FNVH sale rumours

ABBEY National, owner of First National Vehicle Holdings, has refused to comment on growing industry speculation that it could sell its leasing operation to LloydsTSB autolease.

In January, Abbey National 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 at the time it was felt the contract hire operation's focus on large business clients did not fit with the bank's increasing focus on smaller companies.

In an apparent reference to ABN AMRO's decision last year not to proceed with a sale of its subsidiary LeasePlan after putting the company up for sale, a spokesman for Abbey National said: 'The strategic review does not mean any decision has been taken about any decision, whether to sell or not to sell, First National Vehicle Holdings.'

A well-placed source at LloydsTSB autolease confirmed the company was interested in FNVH, but said other parties were also interested and that no immediate deal was anticipated.

If LloydsTSB autolease (itself the product of four companies - ACL, Autolease, Motorrent and Black Horse Vehicle Management) did merge with FNVH it would create the largest leasing firm in the UK, with more than 160,000 funded vehicles.

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