ASSOCIATIONS

ING Lease picks up NACFB
awards

ING Lease UK has been named ‘Lessor of
the Year’ by the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers
at its annual industry awards event, held at Chelsea FC’s Stamford
Bridge football stadium last month. The bank-owned lessor also
picked up ‘Vehicle Finance Provider of the Year’, while Bibby
Financial Services was named ‘Factor/Invoice Discounter of the
Year”.

Lessors still using
brokers

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing
Association claims leading contract hire and leasing firms have
pledged their commitment to the leasing broker sector. At a recent
leasing broker committee meeting, lessors such as Arval, LeasePlan
and Lex Autolease are said to have confirmed the broker channel is
still a significant route to market for them.

SME support needed

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By GlobalData

In its pre-Budget report submission,
the UK’s Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) is calling for
government support for SMEs that invest in capital equipment
through leasing. The FLA asks the government allow lessors to claim
capital allowances on behalf of SMEs, to pass the benefits on to
them through lower rentals.

Ukraine starts up car rental
association

The first meeting of the car rental
committee of Ukraine’s leasing association, UUL, took place last
month, as part of a campaign by members to see the rental industry
recognised as legally separate from equipment leasing.
Participating companies – including Europcar, Hertz, Rent-a-Car,
BLS, Avis and Budget – spent the meeting discussing criteria for
other car rental companies’ membership of the committee. The
lessors also agreed to sign up to Leaseurope’s code of best
practice for car hire providers.

ECONOMIC TRENDS

Shorter payment
times

September saw the biggest
month-on-month improvement in business payment trends since
December 2007, according to the latest data from Experian. On
average, businesses in Great Britain were paying their bills 2.06
days earlier during September compared to August – from 23.60 to
21.54 days. The IT sector saw the biggest improvement, down 43.7
percent year-on-year, while the property sector overtook the postal
and telecommunications sector as the sector with the worst payment
record, paying bills 34.01 days beyond terms.

UK confidence up

Confidence among British businesses has
reached its highest for 18 months but concerns still remain, KPMG’s
latest quarterly business confidence survey has found. More than
half of the senior executives surveyed said they had seen “signs of
recovery”, and the number of them seeing prospects for the economy
as “bad” dropped to 24 percent, down from 54 percent in the
previous quarter. However, one in five businesses continued to
express “grave concerns” about a fall in demand in their products
of services.

LEGAL

No growth for asset finance
firms

Asset finance is one of the least
likely legal practice areas to grow over the next six months, a
survey has revealed. The survey, conducted by recruitment firm
Nicholas Scott, said that while M&A and commercial litigation
were growth areas, asset finance, pensions and employee benefits
were not.

MIDDLE EAST

Buying cheaper than
leasing?

The influx of used European
construction equipment to the Middle East has presented leasing
companies in the region with a sales challenge, as pre-owned plant
prices have sunk low enough to make outright purchase attractive to
companies.
Habib Mikati, of regional leasing company Ejar Cranes and
Equipment, admitted: “Now is the best time to invest and buy
machines. Prices have come down and if companies have the money, it
is worth buying.”

Daimler FS enters
UAE

Daimler’s captive finance house has
launched two joint ventures in the Middle East to offer
Sharia-compliant finance products to buyers of Mercedes-Benz
vehicles. Daimler Financial Services set up the units –
Mercedes-Benz Finance Middle East and Mercedes-Benz Leasing Middle
East – in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz importers in the United
Arab Emirates.
A Daimler FS chief executive called the move “of high strategic
importance”.

REMARKETING

LeasePlan selects
BCA

LeasePlan has appointed BCA as managing
partner for remarketing all of its vehicles in the UK. The
three-year deal will see BCA handle over 30,000 units per year for
the UK’s second biggest car lessor. BCA said it aims to deliver a
multi-channel, cradle-to-grave remarketing strategy for LeasePlan,
managing the entire remarketing process.

GE Capital auction a
hit

Manheim’s first off-site auction in
Italy for GE Capital sold over 170 vehicles, generating €1.3
million. The auction, held at GE Capital premises in Fiumicino,
near Rome, was attended by more than 50 dealers and resulted in an
86 percent conversion rate, Manheim said. As a result of the
successful auction, GE Capital has confirmed that two more off-site
auctions will take place through Manheim before the end of the
month.

ROLLING STOCK

Bologna metro system

Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo is reported to
be in the running to finance the long-awaited underground system in
Bologna. City major Flavio Delbono announced that financing for the
rolling stock could involve leasing, which Intesa Sanpaolo’s Banca
Infrastrutture Innovazione e Sviluppo, the group subsidiary for PPP
projects, said it could provide. The total project – from building
the network to acquiring the rolling stock – is estimated to cost
around €500 million.

Thameslink rejection

The government has rejected a bid by an
Angel Trains and Alstom consortium to build and finance trains for
the £1.4 billion (€1.6 billion) Thameslink rail project. The
decision was made just weeks before the government is due to
announce the name of the winning consortium.

UNITED STATES

ELFA appoints board

The US Equipment Leasing and Finance
Association (ELFA) appointed a new chairman and board of directors.
The board, which will serve during the next 12 months, will be
chaired by Kenneth R Collins, the CEO of Susquehanna Commercial
Finance. The other members of the board of directors include:
Anthony Cracchiolo, US Bank Equipment Finance; Steve Grosso,
CoActive Capital Partners; Lauren Hill, Mesirow Financial
Consulting; Harry Kaplun, Frost Leasing; Anthony Pacchiano, ADP
Commercial Leasing; and Richard L Ross, Summit Funding Group.

Mixed results

American lessors saw new business
volumes fall by 30.9 percent year-on-year in September. Figures
from the US Equipment Leasing and Finance Association revealed that
month-to-month new business volume was up, however, growing 27
percent from August to September, from $3.7 billion (€2.5 billion)
to $4.7 billion. Ralf Petta, ELFA’s interim president, called the
figures “encouraging”.