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Analysis: ING Car Lease to be rebranded after Alphabet acquisition

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The merger of two of the leasing industry’s biggest companies – Alphabet and ING Car Lease – has been confirmed.

The combined company will operate under the banner of Alphabet, while the ING Car Lease brand will be consigned to the history books.

Alphabet, the fleet management division of BMW Group, announced it had struck a deal to buy ING Car Lease for £569-million (637 million euro) in July (Fleet News, July 21).

However, it had to wait two months for European competition authorities to give the acquisition the green light, before announcing the formal merger.

Initial talks between the two companies started in 2003, before gathering pace in 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis.

The combined UK operation, which brings together ING Car Lease's risk fleet of 49,544 cars and 51,767 cars at Alphabet, will propel the leasing giant up the FN50 top ten.

Meanwhile, its European operation now boasts more than 530,000 cars, ranking it amongst the top five leasing companies in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, its German fleet is the biggest on its books, equating for 166,004 cars, with the Netherlands second (86,450) and the UK third (101,311).

It will also continue to develop its van business, which was more prevalent, under ING Car Lease than Alphabet, so that customers continue to enjoy one source of supply.

Additional services, while not necessarily part of its core business, will continue to be offered to meet the need of fleets.

Management of the company will be split between the head of Alphabet International Norbert van den Eijnden and the former CEO of ING Car Lease Ed Frederiks.

The co-CEO structure had raised eyebrows, but Eijnden said it was a normal management model in the German banking sector and stressed there would be no disagreements.

Instead, the co-CEOs will focus on continued growth and making Alphabet an even bigger force in European leasing.

Van den Eijnden said: “Partnering with ING Car Lease gives Alphabet the opportunity to expand its successful multi-make strategy.

“We are currently very strong in the premium segment and, with ING Car Lease, we will be able to address a far larger customer base and offer our customers an enhanced service portfolio.”

In fact, Frederiks told Fleet News that because of their plans for further growth there would be no job losses as a result of the two companies joining forces.

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