Fleet News

Further consolidation as Arval takes on Arma

THE leasing industry has experienced further consolidation following the takeover of Arma by Arval PHH.

In the UK the deal involves 1,100 vehicles but across Europe, and mainly in the Netherlands, Arma has assets of €290 million and a combined fleet of 20,000 vehicles. Arval, part of banking and financial giant BNP Paribas, manages more than 600,000 vehicles in Europe.

A spokesman said: 'In the UK, the current Arma personnel will remain with the company and there will be no changes to the operational side of the business in the short-term.'

He added: 'During 2004, further integration of the two companies will be considered in order to identify whether any significant benefits for customers would be achieved.'

The deal has yet to be cleared by Dutch and Belgian anti-trust authorities. Details emerged soon after Lex Vehicle Leasing won a pioneering new outsourcing contract with Business Partner, the contract hire arm of Ford Financial (Fleet NewsNet January 8).

And in a separate move, the headquarters of leasing company Powermarque is to be closed down and the majority of employees laid off following its sale to Venson Group.

Fleet NewsNet revealed last week that the Venson Group had acquired Powermarque, a subsidiary of AWG, in a deal worth £34.5 million during the festive break. The acquisition of Powermarque, which has fleet management and supply contracts with AWG and other significant corporate and public sector customers, has added approximately 4,500 vehicles to Venson's portfolio.

The closure of the head office, in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, is part of a centralisation programme following the purchase that will see operations moved to Venson's offices in Surrey. The staff, thought to number about 50, are being given the option to relocate.

Martin Dooney, Venson's chief executive, revealed that current Powermarque customers would still be serviced under the brand, but no new business will be written under its name, so the brand will cease to exist when current contracts expire.

He said: 'Integration will take as long as it takes, but we will continue to grow our funded fleet. We are still interested in further acquisitions if they have the right strategic fit and we are looking for deals which are complementary to the Powermarque acquisition.'

Venson is also tendering for new business aimed at the regulated fleet market, such as the emergency services and industries such as water companies.

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