The leasing firm was buoyed by the recovery in the new car market and increased its turnover by 45% to £104 million, while pre-tax profits were £4.2 million for the year ending March 31, 2002. The previous year, the firm plunged into loss because an exceptional charge of £5 million to offset residual value losses wiped out a profit of £2.9 million.
Growth in the personal finance and leasing division in the past year was particularly strong, up nearly a quarter year on year, the firm said.
Fleeetlease's overall vehicle fleet increased by 12% to 24,500, of which 18,000 were owned and the balance managed on behalf of customers.
Simon Oliphant, managing director of Fleetlease, said: 'While the residual values issue is still there we are tackling it by increasing retail sales to drivers and the public through Fleetlease Direct, our used car operation. Some stability has returned in the short term although with record new car sales we will be keeping a close watch on used car prices in the longer term.'
The acquisition of Trowbridge Vehicle Rentals last October for £4 million has added specialist commercial vehicle contract hire to Fleetlease's range of services, which the firm believes will provide a strong platform for future growth. Overall, Hitachi Credit (UK) reported pre-tax profits up from £8.1 million to £10.4 million, on turnover up from £130.8 million to £140.6 million.