Europe’s leasing markets
recovered a little, but are far from 2008 levels. Antonio Fabrizio



Austria’s leasing industry recorded
an 8.8 percent increase in new business to €5.7bn in 2010, up from
€5.2bn in 2009. However, this remained well below the €6.9bn mark
reached in 2008.

Vehicle leasing grew by 5.4% to
€3.3bn, and equipment leasing increased 4.1% to €1.3bn. Real estate
leasing had the strongest rebound, up 26.3%to €1.2bn.

Association of Austrian Leasing
Companies president Rudolf Fric said: “Our expectations of a
recovery of the Austrian leasing market in 2010 came true.

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“We attained considerable growth in
all segments. The explicit gain in real estate leasing in
comparison to 2009 reflects investment by the public sector.”

The quality of Austrian lessors’
portfolios showed improvements.

“The most negative impact on the
Austrian leasing industry was already covered by loss provisioning
in 2009 and 2010,” Fric said. “Because of its fragmented structure,
the Austrian SME sector remained stable even during the crisis.

“For 2011 we are quite sure that
arrears, as well as the stability of residual values, should be on
2008 level again, provided that the actual concerns about rising
oil and petrol prices don’t come true.”

The association has seen a steady
rise in demand, particularly for vehicles, in January and February

It expects investments for
equipment and buildings to further increase, too. Leasing
outstandings reached €23bn at the end of 2010.



The leasing market in Bulgaria
continued to shrink in 2010, although to a much lesser extent than
in 2009 when it fell 72%, putting it among Europe’s worst hit

Total 2010 new business volume was
€437m, against €580m in 2009. The figure covers financial leasing,
which accounts for more than 95% of leasing contracts, whereas
operating leasing remains marginal.

Cars represented the main asset,
accounting for 30% of overall 2010 volumes, followed by transport
vehicles with 23%, and machinery and industrial equipment also at

The Bulgarian Association for
Leasing collects data from 21 members, accounting for 90% of the
country’s leasing market.



Leasing in Estonia rose by 17% to
€420m in 2010. The level of business was that same as that recorded
in 2001, and contrasts strongly with the €1.1bn figure recorded in

The country’s total portfolio was
19% down at 1.7bn year-on-year, as at 31 December 2010.

The top three leasing companies
were Swedbank Leasing with 32% market share, Nordea Finance
Estonia, also 32%; and SEB Leasing at 18%.


The French asset finance market
re-corded a gradual recovery with 3.9% growth in volumes to €19.8bn
in 2010.

While the latest figure remains 20%
below that of 2008, volume improved on a quarterly basis last

French new business volumes dropped
by a fourth in 2009.

A breakdown for last year shows
that finance leasing dropped 1% to €9.2bn, whereas other forms of
financing increased 8.6 percent to €10.6bn.

Car leasing showed the strongest
rebound, up 15.1%, and commercial vehicle leasing grew 5.9%. Office
equipment jumped 12%, while IT equipment fell 1.7%. Real estate
leasing grew by 20.8% to €6.3 bn.

Figures were provided by
Association Française des Sociétés Financières.



European leasing volumes grew by
4.9% to €227bn in 2010, up from €209bn in 2009, the latest figures
from Leaseurope show.

Momentum picked up during the year,
and is expected to continue into 2011.

Equipment leasing rose by 2.1
percent, and vehicle leasing rebounded by 5.9% during the year.
Real estate was up by 12.3%.

Recovery rates differed by region
and asset class. Equipment leasing grew strongly in the UK, and
vehicle leasing was strong in Portugal, the Nordics and Spain.

Western Europe and the Nordic
markets recovered well. The CEE region saw growth overall, helped
by strong figures from Poland.

However, several CEE countries
suffered from significant declines in equipment, vehicles and real
estate volumes.

Leaseurope chairman and Nordea
Finance CEO Jukka Salonen said: “European lessors are performing
strongly, having weathered exceptionally difficult market

“We have an important role to play
in contributing to the ongoing economic recovery across Europe by
financing significant investment in the assets European firms need
to be able to grow again.”

Leaseurope adviser in statistics
and economic affairs Eoghan O’Briain added: “Growth in new leasing
business is again leading total investment expenditure at European

“The cyclical decline in volumes experienced during the
recession has reversed and we would expect to see leasing
penetration rise as a result.”

Table showing the growth levels differed widely across European markets in 2010