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FLEET SPEAK: Year ends with a leasing sale and a van rental closure

Date: 14 December 2010

Paul Barker is editor of BusinessCar

Well 2010 had a twist in the tail didn't it? Masterlease's sale to a banking group, which then handed control over to Leasedrive Velo, tallied with a chat I had with LeaseDrive Velo's board months ago about the way they were looking to build the business.

MD David Bird told me he was looking for big growth by getting involved with lease firms that have a good blue-chip client base, and that chief financial officer Robert Whitrow had been taken on specifically for his experience with mergers and acquisitions. From Bird's comments, and those of his fellow directors, Leasedrive Velo came across as an ambitious and well-backed organisation, and the deal with Investec, new owner of Masterlease, is evidence of that. It will be interesting to watch how the deal progresses, and what the future holds for the Masterlease brand. And there's sure to be more developments with the owners of top leasing companies as we head though 2011.

Less positive is the developments in the van rental market, that sees Leaseway close its doors. Although Northgate is proclaiming growth on the back of rivals' troubles, less competition in the sector is worrying, and it's never good to see a business call in the administrators. Fingers crossed that a buyer can be found.

2010 was a progressive year, with salary sacrifice, electric vehicles and a host of other issues dominating proceedings. Hopefully the worst of the financial troubles are now behind us, and we can look forward to a more prosperous and generally enjoyable 2011. Have a fantastic Christmas and see you next year!

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