German independent lessor Grenke Leasing has reported a 20.1% year-on-year growth in new business volume, which amounted to €1.36bn (£1bn) in 2015.

The boost in volume, which includes franchise partners, exceeded the company’s growth forecast of 11-15%.

Grenke Leasing segment’s new business in Germany increased by 18.3% year-on-year, while double-digit growth (10.3%) was also recorded in France, the company’s core market, "despite intense competition."

A year-on-year growth trend was also witnessed in the company’s other key markets, Italy (40.6%), the UK (14.6%) and Switzerland (25.0%).

In 2015, the Grenke Group recorded 355,273 lease applications (289,578 thereof were international), which generated 159,000 new lease contracts (125,469 thereof were international). The average term per lease contract amounted to €8,553 and was moderately higher than its level in the previous year (2014: €8,163) but was still at a low level, which is typical for our business.

Grenke Group Factoring’s new business (including franchise partners) rose by 55.5% year-on-year to €324.6m (2014: €208.8m) in 2015.

The new business volume of the Grenke Group, which includes Grenke Leasing, Grenke Factoring and Grenke Bank, grew by 26%, to €1.7bn (2014: €1.35bn).

The international share of Grenke Group’s new business in 2015 amounted to 71.7% compared to 70.1% in 2014.

In 2015 the group opened five new branches, two in Germany and one in the UK, France and Sweden. The group currently operates in 28 locations in Germany and a total of 85 locations internationally.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, the group entered its first market in South East Asia with the conclusion of a franchise contract in Singapore. In its Factoring segment, it completed its entry into the Irish market.

Jörg Eicker, chief financial officer at Grenke Leasing, said: "During the 2015 fiscal year, we expanded our refinancing basis and took advantage of a broad range of instruments. We put our position in the capital market to the test with our placement of a bond in December totalling over €100m with an interest coupon of 1.375% and a term of roughly 5 years.

"Our successful approach was recently confirmed by the rating received by Gesellschaft für Bonitätsbeurteilung ("GBB"), who in December raised our credit rating from "A-", to "A" with a stable outlook. Not only a strong financial position but also a strong equity base is very important for the Grenke Group. Therefore, at this year’s annual general meeting, we are considering the option to offer Grenke’s shareholders a scrip dividend once again as attractive opportunity to increase their investment in Grenke."