Welcome to The Leasing Life Awards
2009. The Leasing Life Awards are about the celebration of
excellence in European small and mid-ticket asset finance.

Support and enthusiasm for the awards
– which will take place in Berlin this December – have grown
considerably since they were launched in December 2007. Last year,
a roll-call of the most senior figures in the leasing industry
attended a glittering event in Brussels and, this year, it looks
set to be even bigger and better. Simply put, it is fast becoming
the biggest night of the year for the European leasing

The focus of the awards is on the
performance of the large European networks and banks. As the
ceremony will take place against the backdrop of a recession, this
year the winners and runners-up will not necessarily be those who
have signed vast amounts in new business volumes, rather those who
have responded to the downturn by introducing new systems,
carefully controlled risk and reward, and intelligently managed
their cashflows. In short, the awards will shine a light on those
lessors who have proven themselves to be best able to innovate
during this bleak hour in European financial services.

Leasing Life was the first to
establish Europe-wide equipment finance awards. Feedback from last
year’s event shows lessors fully support the awards for their
recognition of the hard work put into the maintenance and growth of
the industry. Taking part in the awards also provides leasing
companies with fantastic publicity. After all, media outlets
including Reuters, Bloomberg, Forbes, MarketWatch and Business Wire
published articles on Leasing Life’s awards last year, meaning the
winners and runners-up can expect to receive considerable global

We encourage leasing companies – as
well as the asset finance arms of European law firms, whose
performance in 2009 will also be judged this year – to submit
entries. As well as sifting through these, the Leasing Life
editorial team will also conduct a huge research process, including
interviewing scores of leasing companies and reviewing their
financial results. As part of this, our reporting team will be in
touch with many lessors over forthcoming days and weeks as our
information gathering process picks up momentum.

Over the next few weeks, Leasing Life
will reveal the names of the independent judging panel which will
decide the winners and runners-up. The combination of this and
Leasing Life’s own research has made these awards the most
comprehensive and incisive reflection of the European equipment
finance market.

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By GlobalData

Shortlisted entrants will be announced
in Leasing Life later this year and the winners revealed during the
evening Awards Ceremony in Berlin. On the day of the event, Leasing
Life will also host its annual leasing conference.

Now is a good time to look at the
winners of last year’s Leasing Life Awards in Brussels – and see
where they stand today.

You will note from the categories for
The Leasing Life Awards 2009 (see below left) that they focus not
just on what lessors have done, but also how they have done it. New
awards for this year will recognise innovation in both front and
back office, with factors considered including product development,
customer service, IT infrastructure and staff development.

In the same vein, this year’s awards
will celebrate a ‘European functional leader 2009’. For this award,
directors from leasing companies of all shapes and sizes will be
judged on the business that has been written under their tenure;
the contributions they have made to company profits, and the
improvements they have made to the performance of their risk and
credit departments.

In recognition of the recessionary
importance of quality over quantity in writing leasing business,
this year’s vendor award will be awarded on the basis of the year’s
most shrewd individual new partnership, rather than a lessor as a

Finally, a ‘SME champion of the year’
award will salute a lessor that has genuinely gone out of its way
to support the business of lessees in the SME marketplace, while
still maintaining a healthy bottom line.

As well as these new awards, this
year’s Leasing Life event will have a much more pan-European take
on nominations. For a start, the ‘lessor of the year’ award will no
longer be divided between a UK and a European category, and will
instead focus on Europe’s multinational lessors as a pool for

Midway through 2009, how have some of
the key contenders for the awards performed in the year to

• SG Equipment Finance, which won
‘lessor of the year’ in 2008, has recently experienced a slowdown
in activity, with new financing dropping by 5.8 percent to €2
billion in the first quarter of this year. However, the decreases
in new business it has seen in Germany and Italy have been partly
offset by a 21.3 percent growth in its home country of France,
driven by higher demand for high-tech equipment.

• Netherlands giant De Lage Landen,
which won an award for its vendor business in 2008, went on to post
a year end 2008 profit of €235 million and a 13 percent portfolio
increase, despite undergoing a restructuring. However, 2009 looks
to be a mixed year for DLL, despite signing a partnership with
electronics landmark Samsung in the UK.

• Crédit Agricole Leasing, the leasing
arm of France’s biggest bank, managed to increase its profits in
the first quarter of 2009 from €65 million to €77 million. This
follows an already successful 2008 when new business grew by 18

• For BNP Paribas Equipment Solutions
– which includes BNP Paribas Lease Group, Artegy, Arius and Arval –
revenues decreased by 25 percent, to €212 million, in the first
quarter, due to the rise of the cost of risk and operational
expenses. However, its acquisition of Fortis Lease might bring
potential positive changes.

• In neighbouring Italy, UniCredit
Leasing – which last year was ranked first by Leaseurope – net
impairment losses rose by €67 million. However, the lessor, which
has one of Europe’s most extensive leasing networks, restructured
business in a move aimed at growing cross-border business and
developing an international vendor channel.

• German-headquartered Siemens
Financial Services reported a strong last quarter, with pre-tax
income rising 16 percent to €117 million and a return on equity of
39.8 percent, well above the lessor’s target.

• In 2008, ING Lease saw its pre-tax
profits drop by 31 percent to €161 million. However, the company
managed to increase its portfolio size by 12 percent and saw higher
volumes in Italy, the Netherlands, and CEE countries.

• German Grenkeleasing, the IT
financier with operations in 19 European countries, saw a slight
dip in pre-tax earnings in the first quarter of 2009, but liquidity
rose to €112.9 million from €77 million in December 2008.

• Deutsche Leasing, another big German
player, expects business volume to grow to €4.5 billion in the
first half of 2009, although it has said it will be very cautious
about its business investment plans in light of the reduced demand
from SMEs across Europe.