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Commonwealth Bank of Australia Poised To Sell Fleet Leasing Business

September 15, 2003

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has decided to push ahead with the divestment of its fleet leasing business, in a move that is expected to reshape the billion-dollar industry. The bank issued sale documents last week through investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere, according to recipients. Industry players said Commonwealth Bank's business — known as CBFC Leasing, which manages and finances about 45,000 vehicles for Australian businesses — should attract significant interest as the fourth or fifth largest player in the industry. John Carter, Orix Australia’s executive director of group operations, said the sale would reshape the fleet leasing industry and Orix would look at the CBA business. "Realistically, the industry needs to be consolidated. There is an oversupply of fleet leasing people. The sale could realign the industry." Carter said. According to documents lodged with the Australian and Securities Investments Commission, CBFC had assets of $A 1.46 billion and net assets of $A 36 million. Observers expected indicative bids to be submitted by the end of the month. The sale will be the first major transaction since Custom Fleet bought Hertz Fleet Leasing in 2002. ABN Amro’s LeasePlan and National Australia Bank’s Custom Fleet vie for the largest business. There are no official market share figures released, although the Australian Fleet Lessors Association said in its most recent report the fleet leasing industry held $6.32 billion worth of assets and wrote business worth $2.66 billion during 2002.
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