Rebranding and merging of operations will be done on a country by country basis, with the whole exercise expected to take 18 months.
But, with ING Car Lease and Alphabet having offered different services and products in the past, these will have to be streamlined to offer uniformity under the Alphabet brand.
Van den Eijnden said: “We are aiming to combine some of these as quickly as possible by taking what’s best from both brands, but the long term view of a single offering for all countries will take between five to seven years.”
However, both van den Eijnden and Frederiks stressed customers will be unaffected throughout the process.
Van den Eijnden said: “Ideally they will not notice it at all. We intend to keep the same teams in place working with them and will keep the same contact persons for our customers.
“This is a very important point, because our customers are satisfied with our services and we must keep it that way.”
More mergers in the pipeline
The leasing industry should expect further consolidation as banks look to exit the market and access to finance becomes more difficult.
That was the message from the former CEO of ING Car Lease Ed Frederiks, who told Fleet News that the flow of cash remains an issue in the sector.
“We will see further consolidation due to the banks having to address their core business and less liquidity in the market,” explained Frederiks. “Smaller leasing companies will also continue to find it difficult to access funds.”
His predictions echo those of Roddy Graham, commercial director at Leasedrive Group, who reported back in 2008 of the opportunity for “well-placed players to cherry-pick competitors”.
In fact, it was Leasedrive that led the way with the help of Investec in the acquisition of Masterlease UK.
However, in his Fleet Opinion article (Fleet News, September 15) he said ‘rumours were rife’ of further consolidation, with ING perhaps not the only mainland bank looking to exit vehicle leasing and contract hire operations.
Meanwhile, the Royal Bank of Scotland continues to look for a potential suitor for Lombard Vehicle Management after GE Capital reportedly pulled the plug on talks.