Europe’s largest automaker is said to be in advanced negotiations to sell off its 50 percent holding in financing unit LeasePlan, with the company now focusing on rebuilding its businesses.
According to sources that have knowledge of the situation, an announcement about the impending sale might be coming as early as this week. The company has decided to divest its stake holding into third-party leasing business, LeasePlan, after already owning its own in-house leasing division – VW Leasing GmbH – and also relying heavy in recent years on its Volkswagen Financial Services arm. Apparently, the other 50 percent holding of Netherlands-based LeasePlan, currently owned by German bank Metzler, would also be part of the purchase deal with the interested bidder. Both owners tapped earlier this year investment bank Rothschild to help them find a suitable new owner for the company, which has been valued at around 3 billion euros, said the people, who declined to be named because the discussions are still private.
Early on in the process there were several consortiums built to handle the purchase, but the Dutch banking regulators asked the bidders to come up with some minimum requirements in terms of capital and liquidity. “The sales process has now been re-started after solving the issues with the central bank,” commented one of the sources. Any agreement would only be final once the Dutch central bank approves it, since LeasePlan operates a Dutch banking license. The company financed 1.42 million autos last year and also reported a net profit of 372 million euros.