Fleet News

Lloyds TSB autolease ‘not for sale’

Sources inside Lloyds TSB autolease have quashed tales in the press that the firm is up for sale.

Several national news outlets reported that Lloyds TSB was looking to sell its leasing subsidiary – which has more than 140,000 cars on its fleet – to raise capital in light of the credit crunch.

While an official spokesman for the firm declined to comment, a source within autolease told Fleet News that the news had been greeted with surprise.

“There’s clearly some sort of rumour going around, but it’s not accurate,” he said.

“It’s not up for sale.”

One firm that is up for sale, however, is Hill Hire.

Its owner, HBoS, hopes to raise around £300 million from the sale, but denies that the credit crunch is to blame for the move, which a source said had been planned for months.

Hill Hire has around 21,000 vehicles and clients, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and DHL from 17 depots nationwide.

It also has its own finance business. HBoS has appointed chartered accountants Grant Thornton to find potential buyers, which are expected to come from the private-equity world.

HBoS took Hill Hire into the private sector in 1999 when it paid £74 million through its corporate-banking division.

Since then it has trebled the fleet size and increased staff numbers to around 500.

But HBoS has suffered more than £1 billion of write-downs thanks to the US sub-prime mortgage fiasco, and is susceptible to British commercial and residential property markets.

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