Fortis Lease is to exit the retail motor
finance market in the UK, in a move that could give new funders the
opportunity for a market entry by acquiring its book.

It is understood that all Fortis’ dealer
relationships are to be wound down by the end of the year.

A BNP Paribas Lease Group spokeswoman said:
“The decision has been made by BNP Paribas Lease Group that the
business conducted by Fortis Lease UK was not core to the strategic
objectives of BNP Paribas Lease Group.  The decision has been
made to stop writing new business in Fortis Lease UK therefore
running off the business.”

Attempts to find a buyer for the business have
so far been unsuccessful.

“We looked at the possibility to re-house the
business within the wider BNP Paribas Group. This was
unsuccessful as there was no adequate strategic fit. Attempts were
then made to sell the business to other financial institutions and
in addition to private equity houses but again this was
unsuccessful due to prevailing market conditions. We believe we
have exhausted all possibilities at the current time and therefore
any future sale would be very much on a reactive basis,” the
spokeswoman said.

The company’s portfolio is regarded to be
strong, with a relatively low incidence of bad debt, raising the
possibility that a buyer may yet come forward. Failing a sale, the
business will be run down by letting the agreements run their
natural course.

and Girish