LeasePlan world’s largest car hire firm gears up for £5bn flotation

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 13 Feb 2018) London, Uk – –

The world’s largest car hire firm is revving up plans for a blockbuster stock market float after another set of record profits.

Profits jumped 13pc to €677m (£600m) at LeasePlan, which has a fleet of 1.7m cars, and is 50 years old.

The firm said it was benefiting from a “clear megatrend” in which increasing numbers of people are turning their back on car ownership, in favour of so-called “usership”, or the sharing economy, as annual sales nudged €9.4bn. It has signed a deal with Uber to provide drivers with access to its fleet.

Chief executive Tex Gunning said growing customer demand for the entire range of services where LeasePlan does not just supply the car but also provides financing, insurance, and repair and maintenance, had boosted results.

Profits would have been higher but the company took a €65m hit from a series of one-off charges, including the cost of preparing for a possible listing later. Mr. Gunning said no decision had been taken but it could decide to go public later this year. Deutsche Bank and UBS have reportedly been hired to evaluate the move, which could see it valued at around €6bn.

The European used car market is growing strongly, the company said.

“Customers are realising you can buy a car that is three or four years old and still get another 100,000 miles out of it,” Mr Gunning said.

The backlash against diesel cars has had little effect on sales, largely because most of its diesel cars are newer, so-called 6 models, which comply with new regulations. The firm has pledged to make its fleet zero-emissions by 2030.

By