Fleet News

Leasing companies set for new owners

Two of the UK’s biggest contract hire and leasing companies are believed to be close to being sold following months of negotiations.

GE Capital is understood to be in the final stages of agreeing terms to acquire Masterlease after lengthy talks.

Meanwhile, Lombard Vehicle Management, which is owned by the part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland, is also up for sale – a buyer is thought to have been found. 

Sources say GE’s acquisition of Masterlease is likely to be completed before the end of the year. It will bring together the 10th and 12th largest UK contract hire and leasing companies to form a business operating almost 80,000 risk fleet vehicles – the fifth most in the FN50.

GE is known to be planning significant growth in the UK and globally where it has been an active acquirer of businesses. However a spokesman declined to comment about any impending deal for Masterlease.

The GMAC-owned business has effectively been on the market for more than a year, according to leasing experts. The company, which until a couple of years ago was still expanding into new countries, has seen its UK risk fleet fall by more than 50% since 2008.

Lombard, the UK’s third biggest contract hire and leasing company, serves a variety of small and large fleet but specialises in catering for small and medium-sized fleets.

RBS has been looking to offload its non-core businesses for several months. Fleet News now understands that interested parties have been found and a deal may be close to being agreed. However, Lombard refused to comment on speculation.

A spokesman said: "RBS continues to explore options for the future of its Lombard Vehicle Management business as part of the strategic plan announced last year to return itself to stand-alone financial strength. We will make any further announcements as and when appropriate.” 

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