At the end of a day where the customer was the focus, the determined mood of the Leasing Life Conference gave way to one of celebration as industry’s achievements absorbed the limelight at the Leasing Life Awards in Berlin’s Grand Hyatt hotel.

The big winner of the night was De Lage Landen after its "incredible business growth" over the year and increasing profile within parent company Rabobank earned it the title of European Lessor of the Year.

Last year’s winner Société Générale Equipment Finance’s (SGEF) sterling work over the past year and presence in the European market was again recognised in this category, receiving an honourable mention from the judges.

SGEF’s work within the small business market across Europe and its "wide reach" and "dedication" was recognised as the judges presented it the with SME Champion award for the second year in a row.

Nordea Finance, too, had recognition for its work in the SME space and was highly commended for its wide range of products and strong offering.

De Lage Landen was also among the award winners when the judges recognised it in a new category, the Product & Service Innovation Award. The Dutch lessor’s "cradle-to-cradle" finance product, developed specifically for one manufacturer, was instrumental in their winning the award.

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De Lage Landen was also highly commended for its work in the hotly competitive vendor finance market. However, it was Nordea whose 44% growth in the vendor space and its service to partners and customers made it the winner of this year’s Vendor Finance Provider of the Year Award.

In captive finance the work of Dell Financial Services in building its business through 2013 was recognised as the judges marked it as "one to watch" in the category. However, the winner of the Captive Finance Provider of the Year Award in the judge’s opinion was, for the second year running, Cisco Capital. It was commended in particular for its deep integration with its parent and involvement in product development.

Arguably none of the hard work of the leasing industry could function properly without the support of the legal industry whose hard work was recognised by the Asset Finance Legal Provider award. Recognised among the nominees for its hard work and the close to winning the award was DWF. However, the winner was also last year’s winner, Addleshaw Goddard, recognised for its broad range of expertise and range of clients and its "dedication and commitment" to the business.

The broker market’s contribution to European asset finance was recognised in the Broker of the Year Award. While Asset Finance Solutions was praised for its "broad sectorial offering", this year’s winner was Kennet Equipment Leasing. Kennet’s excellent acceptance rate and outstanding customer service were highlighted by the judges who called the company a "credit to the industry".
Work in the renewables sector was recognised by the Green Finance Transaction Award. A significant deal by Belfius Leasing in 2013 was highly commended, but it was Raiffeisen Leasing’s overall work in the sector that won it the award.

Raiffeisen’s culture and strategy in the clean energy industry was deemed so strong the judges believe the company has become an integral part of the sector in the countries in which it operates.

The Young Professional of the Year award was given to Marco Ripamonti who was recognised for the tangible effect he has had on the success of BNP Paribas Technology Solutions in Italy.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, the Industry Ambassador Award, a new accolade recognising contribution to the wider industry, was accepted with characteristic wit by Jukka Salonnen, chief executive of Nordea Leasing and chairman of Leaseurope.
The good humour and humility continued as Chris Sullivan, head of corporate banking at Royal Bank of Scotland and a former stalwart of Lombard, took the Lifetime Achievement Award with great modesty.

And the company he led to be one of Europe’s largest leasing companies, Lombard, was also awarded, taking the second Editor’s Special Award in recognition of 152 years in the leasing industry.

See also – Industry leaders come together at the Leasing Life European Conference and Awards 2013