Fleet News

Custom Fleet sale boosts GE profile

THE UK’s contract hire and leasing industry has changed shape this week with the announcement that GE Commercial Finance, Fleet Services has bought leasing company Custom Fleet in a multi-million pound deal.

It brings GE’s UK fleet total to more than 70,000 units but is unlikely to push the company further up the FN50 league table of UK contract hire and leasing companies, produced annually by Fleet News, as according to last year’s figures it still puts it a few thousand units behind the higher ranking company, Arval.

The deal originates in Australia with GE Commercial Finance buying Custom Fleet from the National Bank of Australia for A$550 million (£227 million).

The business operates in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, where it runs 17,000 vehicles. The whole deal adds 130,000 vehicles onto GE’s fleet worldwide.

GE Fleet Services UK managing director Rich Green said: ‘Adding 130,000 vehicles to our global fleet operation provides further scale, operating synergies and expertise to our business. At a UK level, the acquisition of Custom Fleet is a perfect strategic fit and will expand our product and service portfolio in a highly complementary manner.’

GE will not keep the Custom Fleet name and will instead integrate the company’s fleet into its own business.

Steve Sargent, chief executive officer at GE Australia and New Zealand, commented: ‘GE already offers a broad suite of financing and fleet management products, which enable our customers to better manage their fleets and effectively reduce their wholelife fleet costs.’

The deal is likely to be completed by the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.

Sargent added: ‘On completion of the transaction, GE’s specialist integration team will begin the process of bringing the two businesses together. Further announcements on the structure and operations of the new organisation will be made at that time.’

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