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Autolease Lex merger to be complete in two years

Date: 08 April 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Nigel Stead, Lex Autolease boss

Nigel Stead, the man in charge of merging leasing giants Lex and Autolease, expects the process to take two years.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar about the outlook for Lloyds TSB Autolease and now sister firm Lex, managing director Stead said his priority was to keep customers happy during the merger.

He downplayed the suggestion there would be a loss in the number of customers during the merger.

"With any integration there is a risk of a small loss. It's vital to maintain our relations with our customers. We will do everything to maintain customer focus and both management teams are determined not to lose that focus."

If the two businesses were put together with zero loss in leased vehicles then the new company would total more than 403,000 cars.

Stead added he was investigating the branding of the future business, but had yet to reach a decision.

Commenting on the outlook for 2009 he said he was not "unduly optimistic".

"I've never seen a recession like this. We're in uncharted waters.

"The Bank of England and politicians are trying to kick-start the economy but it is difficult to forecast.

"2008 saw an unprecedented decline, and speed of decline, in residual values. It took nine months to fall 20%; previously we've seen that fall but in three years.

"So all those with an RV risk will have borne some kind of pain."

Despite this, Stead said Autolease's RV write-down was only "a fraction of the £57 million" mentioned in the Lloyds Banking Group results.

He added that this year has seen a significant uplift in RVs.

"You can debate how sustainable that is - there's no sign of it tailing off yet."