BNP Paribas Lease Group and telecoms manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent have launched Alcatel-Lucent Financial Services in Spain, France, Germany, Poland and the Benelux region, with plans for further expansion next year. The programme, tailored to SMEs, was launched with an introductory zero-percent financing promotion that will run until the end of 2009. Alcatel-Lucent Financial Services will be offered through the manufacturer’s resource network and through an automated online quotation tool.
Daimler in UAE
Daimler Financial Services has launched a new joint venture with Abu Dhabi’s Al Fahim Group and Dubai-headquartered Garish Enterprises, to offer loans and leasing for both cars and commercial vehicles. It will offer a range of Sharia compliant products, and will be the first dedicated captive finance JV in the UAE. The company’s medium-term goal is to reach a contract volume of €300 million in three to five years.
Charity Lunch – 16 December
The leasing industry’s annual Charity Christmas Lunch will be held on December 16, at the Institute of Directors in London. 1980s snooker legend Steve Davis will be the guest of honour at the lunch, and will also give a short speech. The lunch will be sponsored by The Alta Group, CHP Consulting and International Advisory Associates, which have joined forces to help raise money for Cancer Journey, a charity that provides information to anyone affected, directly or indirectly, by cancer.
Romania operating leasing
Romania’s two leasing associations may soon find themselves joined by a third, comprising the country’s operating leasing specialists.
The motion was proposed by BT Finop Leasing head Cristian Gala, who said: “If we want to develop the operating leasing industry in Romania to reach a market share of 10 percent to 15 percent, we need […] an operating leasing association, to avoid confusion between the two types of products.”
UniCredit Leasing has again topped Leaseurope’s ranking of European lessors, followed by French lessors BNP Paribas Equipment Solutions and SG Equipment Finance. Although UniCredit Leasing saw new business fall by 14.6 percent year-on-year to reach €12.7 billion, it was still nearly €1 billion ahead of BNP Paribas Equipment Solutions, its nearest competitor. The lessor with the largest volume of business outside of Europe was De Lage Landen, with €6.1 billion.
Spanish asset sales
Asociación Española de Leasing (AEL), Spain’s leasing association, has launched an online distribution channel for ex-lease assets. The 114 members of AEL will be able to sell assets via a web portal called MOBU (Online Marketplace for Used Assets). According to AEL estimates, more than 100,000 items will go on sale in this fashion.
Some 969 Czech companies were declared bankrupt in the first three quarters of 2009, 54 percent more than in the corresponding period of 2008, say statistics from the Czech Credit Bureau. The bureau, which helps leasing and other financial services companies assess the ability of their clients to repay lending, predicted around 1,300 bankruptcies by the end of the year.
Valdis Trezins, head of the Latvijas Auto trucker’s association, has predicted an improvement in Baltic road freight markets only after a grim first quarter next year. He said that spring bankruptcies were likely, as firms fail to meet truck leasing costs. He noted that in 2009’s first half, leasing companies had granted credit holidays and payment restructuring options to Latvian truckers, but that this had ceased by the end of the third quarter.
Bulgarian manufacturing and financial services group Eurohold is poised to absorb an unnamed Romanian lessor and a number of car dealerships. Board member Borislav Feschiev said the target company was on the edge of bankruptcy, but could provide an excellent portfolio for Eurohold’s Eurolease Auto Romania. Furthermore, said Feschiev, Eurohold will continue to seek similar bargains on the Bulgarian market. The company is predicting a profit of €4.3 million at year end.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
HVB becomes UniCredit
German lessor HVB Leasing GmbH has rebranded as UniCredit Leasing GmbH, to emphasise its affiliation with its owner, Europe’s largest lessor. The company’s 330 employees will continue to serve its 15,000 customers through eight branches, and will remain headquartered in Hamburg.
Poland down by third
During the first nine months of this year, Polish leasing companies financed €3.2 billion of investments, more than a third down on last year’s figure of €5.1 billion. The industry’s rate of business decline is slowing with each successive quarter, however. As in the year’s first half, vehicle finance has seen the worst of Poland’s leasing downtown, with truck finance down 43 percent year-on-year as of the end of September.
Austria down by quarter
The leasing subsidiary of Austrian banking network Bawag PSK has predicted that Austria’s total leasing revenue for 2009 will be 24 percent down year-on-year, with an annual total of €5.2 billion expected for the industry. Managing directors Alexander Schmidecker and Rudolf Fric anticipated 1.3 percent growth for Austrian lessors in 2010, and more pronounced growth in 2011.
New office in Frankfurt
The Alta Group is opening a German office in Frankfurt, headed by Michael Vander, the former EMEA sales manager for CIT Europe. Vander, who has in the past worked for Deutsche Leasing, De Lage Landen and Svenska Finans International, is especially experienced in the field of international vendor programmes.