Representatives from a broad range of
European leasing companies gathered in Brussels on November 12 to
attend the Leasing Life Awards.

SG Equipment Finance (SGEF) won the ‘Lessor of the Year’ award
at the event, with Deutsche Leasing as runner-up for this

Part of the Specialised Financial Services division of Société
Générale, SGEF has a portfolio of €22bn and is represented in 25
countries across four continents. SGEF focuses on three industry
sectors: high-tech, industrial equipment and transport. The company
has grown organically in the last year, entering new markets in the
US, Brazil and Croatia.

“The Leasing Life Awards give public recognition to the
hard work, dedication, innovation, creativity and flair shown by
European lessors, and helps to raise the profile around the great
work of lessors – a crucial task, because much of this work is kept
private and, therefore, uncelebrated,” commented Brendan Malkin,
editor of Leasing Life.

The annual event, which took place during VRL’s Asset Finance
Distribution Conference, ‘Beating the Credit Squeeze’, seeks to
identify organisations that have set the benchmark for best
practice in the industry, recognising outstanding performances over
the past twelve months.

The awards were judged by a panel of industry specialists,
including a mix of leasing experts, vendors and industry
consultants from the private and public sector.

Other winners included:

Vendor Lessor of the Year:
De Lage Landen
This company, committed to
being an international vendor lessor, has achieved double digit
growth in profit over the last five years. In the first six months
of this year, profit was €112 million. The company has also
expanded geographically this year, entering the market in countries
such as Romania, Hungary and Portugal.

Captive Lessor of the Year:
Xerox Financial Services
Xerox Financial
Services has established full in-country platforms in 12 countries
this past year, and grown the business by 28% year-on-year. The
hard work and dedication of Xerox FS’ staff has led the company to
be recognised and elevated as one of Xerox’s five lines of

UK SME Lessor of the Year:
Close Brothers Leasing
Formed about 12 months
ago, Close Brothers Leasing aims to address a section of the market
under-served by the mainstream lessors and react with speed and
agility to customer demands. Having signed up nearly 30
introducers, the company has completed around £40 million of new

Service Provider of the Year:
3 Step IT

This services company operates in IT asset lifecycle
management, although it is now expanding into other asset types,
such as office equipment and other assets. Based in Finland, where
last year the company achieved the majority of its €174 million
turnover, 3 Step IT has recently expanded into Scandinavia, the
Baltics, the UK and Russia.

Transaction of the Year:
The joint venture between QW Rail Leasing and QW Rail
Leasing Limited

This joint venture in the past 12 months signed a £262m train
operating lease with Transport for London. It was the first large
non-Rosco rail leasing transaction in the UK. Transport for London
has been given the innovative option of leasing the equipment for
the entire economic life of the trains rather than having to start
negotiations from scratch at the end of each lease. Because all of
the funding is off balance-sheet for TfL, it allows the company to
raise more money for other projects.

Rising Star Award:
Jacqueline Mills, Senior Advisor, Leaseurope
Jacqueline has positioned herself as a key staff member of
Leaseurope, assisting in countless industry issues, from VAT to
asset management and insurance, and who has in effect become, in
some ways, the face of the industry.

Leasing Personality of the Year:
John Bennett, Chairman of Leaseurope

Whether it be managing a large global vendor finance company
during a time of economic downturn, being a figurehead for the
leasing industry in his capacity of Chairman of Leaseurope, or
representing the industry on key issues of the day, John Bennett is
truly a major force in contemporary European asset

Lifetime Award:
Alain Vervaet, CEO of ING Holding
Besides managing one of the most successful truly pan-European
leasing businesses, he has also been a constant contributor to the
success and growth of Leaseurope. A former chairman of the Belgian
Leasing Association, as well as Leaseurope, he continues to work
tirelessly in support of European leasing, including raising its
profile where necessary and improving statistical information
provided by Leaseurope.