JOINT VENTURES

BPLG telecoms

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.


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By GlobalData

PHILANTHROPY

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.


ASSOCIATIONS

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.”

Leaseurope
Rankings

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.


INSOLVENCY

Czech bankruptcies

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.

Latvian haulage

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.

Eurohold
acquisition

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.


MARKET PERFORMANCE

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.


CONSULTANCY

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.