After rebranding BT Fleet Solutions as Rivus Fleet Solutions, new owners Aurelius Group has ambitious plans for the fleet management company.
Aurelius UK managing director Tristan Nagler told Fleet News: “We have a lot of confidence that we can build something of value and there’s a prize to transform the business into something substantial in this marketplace.”
This is likely to involve further acquisitions, investment into the organisation’s existing services and the introduction of new services.
High on the wish list is a move into heavy goods vehicles – all 65 workshops can handle trucks up to 7.5 tonnes, but just 28 have the facilities for heavier trucks – as well as accident management and funding.
“We will encourage strong growth (in these areas). We will start with the business as it and see if there is anything it has been held back from achieving or developing,” Nagler continued.
“Then it’s about customer wins and, in due course, growth by acquisition. Our hope is to transform the business – in fact, I’d be amazed if there wasn’t something major in this journey. We know we have to make some step changes here.”
According to Henry Brace, managing director of Rivus (Latin for river), for the past three-and-a-half years, the company was constrained by its former parent because it was seen as a non-core activity.
“We were a lesser priority and we also had different (financial) payback – in years not months – so we were hamstrung,” he said. “With Aurelius, we are not hamstrung.”
Brace is keen for Rivus Fleet Solutions to offer customers a full suite of products and services, including access to funding. The business already facilitates funding via a broker panel; it is now considering offering its own leasing solution.
“About half the market is not available to us because we don’t have a product; Aurelius will help us to have it,” he said. “This is a key part of the business plan.
“We want operating and finance lease and, where it suits the customer, we want fully bundled and unbundled. And then, do we move into residual value risk and away from the broker business?
“We will be driven by what our customers want.”
Aurelius has a “long-term” contract to continue as exclusive fleet services provider to BT’s 35,000 vehicles with service-based incentives to encourage BT to re-sign “down the track”.
Brace said: “We will work closely with them to ensure they have no need to look elsewhere.”
This was an important element to guarantee the retention of Rivus’s other 28 customers and their 45,000 vehicles, plus the “two or three we have just won”, he added.
“Their concerns were to have continued high levels of service delivery and they wanted to see a long-term contract with BT because that gives us the scale that they benefit from,” Brace said.
“They also wanted the management team to transfer over to Aurelius and they wanted the garage network which they see as a key differentiator of our service, offering great compliance, service, responsiveness and flexibility.
“They were reassured that Aurelius sees this as a key part of our proposition. There is investment built into the business case to maintain and enhance our sites.”
Two of those contract wins are with Kier and Highways England. Rivus is taking on fleet management responsibility for Kier’s car and van fleet of 7,130 vehicles and will manage maintenance and fleet services for Highways England’s 470 vehicles, swelling its business by 7,600, taking it close to 81,000 vehicles in total.
Brace is confident that Aurelius can also improve Rivus’s competitiveness through its systems and processes, including its experts in IT, procurement, marketing and HR. They will help the business to be quicker to market with new propositions as well as improving efficiency.
“We are now a core business that can be agile,” he said, adding: “This year will be our biggest sales year ever. The changes we have made over the past four or five years are bearing fruit.
“We are a healthier business and now, with Aurelius, we can control our own destiny.”