All articles by Nick Huber

Nick Huber

The future looks brighter for European fleet

As the eurozone crisis continues to cast a shadow over much of the economy, the fleet leasing industry looks in reasonable shape as companies report steady growth in some parts of the market. Nick Huber reports.

Banco Popolare Group and Alba Leasing outsource IT to Acenture

Italian lenders Alba LeasingandBanco Popolare Group have outsourced their leasing businesses’ IT operations to management consultancy Accenture. In a separatedeal, Accenture will buyItaca Service, an IT services provider, which is part ofBanco Popolare’s leasing business Itaca provides IT services to Banco’s leasing companies and also to Alba Leasing.

Basel III threats and opportunities

In light of decisive moves from French bank BNP Paribas on the new regulation, Nick Huber looks at the impact on bank-owned and independent lessors. Any regulation which requires banks to increase their capital reserves to help them withstand future shocks is likely to create both threats and opportunities for leasing businesses. Some of Europes largest leasing businesses are owned by banks and could be scaled back, experts believe, as banks re-allocate capital in preparation for Basel III, which will be phased in from 2013.

Leased cameras help TV production company film the waves

A UK television production company is bringing sailing fans the latest action from the America’s Cup using military standard cameras leased from Azule Finance. Amis, whichbroadcasts water sports and social and environmental documentaries,needed new camera equipment but was turned down for finance by high-street lenders, Azule said.

CIT’s asset finance business grows profits

CIT Group, the US finance company, made a loss in the third quarter as it paid down debt, but there was strong growth in its vendor finance division. CIT, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, reported a net loss of $16m (11.2m) for the quarter for September 30, 2011 — down from net income of $116m (81.8m) a year ago. However, pre-tax earnings at the companys vendor-finance business were $77m (54.3m), up from $22m (15.5m) in the previous quarter, but down from $89m (62.7m) in the year-earlier period.

US leasing recovering faster than in Europe

US equipment leasing companies wrote 25% more new business in September than in the same month in 2010 — more than double the six-month growth rate in Europe, according to a new survey. New business in September was $7.1bn (5bn), up 25% from the year-earlier period and also up 25% for the year so far, the survey by the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), also found.

Santander picks Zenith for company car scheme

Santander has begun a new company car scheme in the UK, run by Zenith. The scheme is available to 750 UK employees, who cover more than 8,000 miles a year on business for the Spanish bank.

Cat Financial profit jumps 41%

Cat Financial, the construction and mining equipment leasing company, increased third-quarter profits by about 41% compared to the same period last year, helped by growth in new business and lower credit losses. Cat, which is owned by Caterpillar, the worlds largest maker of heavy equipment, said pretax profit was $126m (90m) for the third quarter of 2011 — up from $89m (63m) compared to the same period a year earlier.

Half of businesses unaware of lease accounting change

More than half of businesses worldwide are unaware of a controversial new accounting rule that will put billions of dollars of leased assets oncorporate balance sheets. Fifty four per cent of international businesses questioned by accounting and consultancy firm Grant Thornton had not heard of plans forthe new lease accounting standard, which is one of the biggest changes to global accounting for a decade

Asset finance for green energy reaches ?30.5bn

Asset-backed financing of renewable energy projects jumped to a record 30.5bn in the third quarter of 2011, research has shown. Three large offshore wind farms in the North Sea totalled more than 1 gigawatt in capacity and 4.6bn in investment, according to the research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).