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May 1, 2008

Basement Talk

The power of leasing...In a whiff of smoke...Software provider in trouble...

By Verdict Staff

The power of leasing

Sometimes asset finance has not had the recognition it so clearly deserves. A story reaches our ears, involving the CEO of GE and one of its equipment leasing arms.

At an annual jamboree for employees, our source says that the stand assigned to GE Capital Woodchester, as it was then known, was only half the expected size and was, furthermore, in a dark corner… near to the public conveniences, to add insult to injury. But salvation came from an unlikely quarter. Our source was talking on his mobile, oblivious to his surroundings, when he suddenly found himself on the floor and in danger of being trodden on – with the culprit none other than Jeffrey Immelt himself.

After being helped up, with the great man offering apologies while berating his sizeable contingent of bodyguards for not having prevented the collision, our source dusted himself off – and was rewarded with Immelt’s undivided attention for a good 15 minutes or so.

He put the time to good use showing off the Woodchester stand, while representatives from GE’s many other divisions looked on enviously. Sometimes being in the wrong place at the right time can pay dividends, even if the price involves a little light trampling.


In a whiff of smoke…

During the collection of statistics for this month’s databank feature, the author was astonished to discover that, according to the Leaseurope website at least, the Lithuanian Leasing Association had vanished overnight.

Completely unsubstantiated eyewitness reports have it that the Association was last seen disappearing in a cloud of coloured smoke in central Vilnius, leaving only four pencils, a bicycle and a collection of extremely useful spreadsheets to mark its passage.


Software provider in trouble

So much for the frequently repeated slogans put about by leasing companies about the importance of investing during a downturn. At least one international leasing software company is believed to be laying-off staff, including some of its more senior members.


Rome alight: Nero to purchase fiddle

Although Birmingham’s Commercial Vehicle show has been cancelled for 2009 after an avalanche of dropouts from exhibitors, it is heartening to know that Europe’s luxury yacht industry is soldiering on modestly.

While the National Exhibition Centre will host only the eerie silence of financial uncertainty this year, the London Boat Show steamrollered through January fuelled by a handful of billionaires and an army of envious ticket holders.

It is some consolation that, should the road transport and logistics industries go belly-up, there will at least still be a thriving market for people who build swimming pools inside colossal pleasure boats.


Brokers kept out of the IoD

Leasing brokers are said to be doing less work today than they were a year ago. Consequently they are doubtless looking for nice places to spend the daylight hours.

No surprise then that the regular briefings organised by leasing consultancy Invigors at the Institute of Directors in London’s Pall Mall was so filled up that organisers had to turn away potential paying customers.


The wilder shores of leasing

Equipment leasing lawyer Deidre Dare has been asked to stop publishing extracts online from an erotic novel she has written, as it is apparently embarrassing her bosses.

Ms Dare, a senior associate at Allen & Overy, represents international clients involved in equipment leasing and project financing and works in the Moscow office of the London-based firm.

And now, for the exclusive pleasure of Basement Talk readers, here is the novel’s opening line: “There is something thrilling about being in bed with a Frenchman, even if he does have a small **** which he can’t get up…”


Oh, the glamour

Leasing? Glitzy? Can’t be.

Er, it is. Check out the following for sheer glamour. There’s a Julia Roberts at NetSol Technologies (although, according to Basement Talk intelligence, she left the lease software company in recent weeks), a Vaughan Williams, a director of asset finance and leasing at the UK arm of Deutsche Bank, and best of all Graham Winslet, a manager at BNP Paribas Lease Group UK, who is the uncle of the well-known actress with the same surname.

Anyone else able to provide links between leasing and the stars should e-mail Leasing Life.


Astonishing figures

Data from ICC Information published in the Irish Times this week has revealed that the Irish leasing industry’s balance sheet is in shocking shape.

According to the study, more than one-fifth of Ireland’s trading companies have a negative net worth, with the leasing sector amassing the largest total at an astonishing €7 billion in negative value.

This figure translates to an average net worth of negative €32 million for Irish leasing companies, compared to a €4.1 billion negative worth for the rest of the financial services industry.

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