Volkswagen is planning to become the outright owner of the country’s second largest lease company, LeasePlan.
LeasePlan has over 130,000 vehicles leased to fleets in the UK and has 1.2 million vehicles under its management across the world.
Volkswagen already owns a 50% stake in the company.
Now the German carmaker, which is Europe’s biggest, has begun negotiations with the other two owners - Mubadala Development Company and the Olayan Group - to acquire their individual 25% stakes
Mubadala and Olayan exercised a put option on their shares in Leaseplan which sparked the move.
A put option essentially signals the two companies are willing to sell their shares.
Volkswagen said it hopes to take over the shares at the beginning of next year, at which point it will have outright control of the multi-marque leasing giant.
The carmaker refused to be drawn on its plans for LeasePlan after it takes control, only saying that negotiations with the lease giant’s two other owners were progressing.
A LeasePlan spokesman in Holland, where the company is headquartered, assured that Volkswagen’s outright ownership of the company will not affect its ‘independent’ lease company status, essentially meaning it will remain multi-marque.
“Volkswagen has clearly indicated that LeasePlan will remain independent,” he said.
“There is no reason to believe this will change.”
The three companies between them paid two billion euro (£1.76 billion at today’s exchange rates) for LeasePlan from ABN Amro at the end of 2004.
The latest figures suggest LeasePlan’s total assets are worth in excess of £15.46 billion.