Irish billionaire and shareholder Dermot Desmond has called in administrators to Venson Group plc and formed a new holding company, Premiere Fleet Management and Contract Hire. VAS has been transferred into the new firm, along with other subsidiaries that run Venson’s fleets. They will continue to trade under the Venson name.
Desmond said the creation of Premiere marked a new start and a positive future for Venson.
He said he would provide financial investment and his full support to the acquired companies and added: 'The future is bright for the new Venson – we have removed the key uncertainties of recent years and I am confident that with the new, enthusiastic management team in place, we can provide an even better service to customers than before. My aim is to grow these businesses in the coming years and I trust that all stakeholders will share my confidence in the future.'
Desmond won a court case against Venson last year after he complained of being misled when he originally invested in 1999. Forecasts suggested the firm would be in profit, but it actually sustained losses of millions of pounds. Following the case, Desmond took control from fellow shareholders Grant Scriven and Clive Lawson-Smith and set up Premiere with a new management team.
Venson’s reputation suffered after the fleet management deal it secured with the Metropolitan Police. Shortly after it took over the Met fleet, concern over quality of maintenance led to a recall of all front-line vehicles. The recall was, however, a precautionary measure and there were no serious safety implications, Venson said.
In 2005, Venson lost the Met contract to Lex Vehicle Leasing.
Venson currently manages the Nottinghamshire Police fleet contract.