ALMERE-STAD, THE NETHERLANDS
— Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has raised its long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings to ‘A/A-1' from ‘A-/A-2' on LeasePlan Corp. N.V., a Netherlands-based bank specialized in operational car leasing and fleet management and the parent company of Lease Plan USA. The upgrade reflects LeasePlan’s establishment of an independent funding base since Volkswagen AG and two Gulf-based investors acquired the bank in November 2004. Volkswagen AG subsequently transferred its 50 percent ownership of LeasePlan to Volkswagen Bank GmbH. LeasePlan has been able to replace the short-term funding provided by ABN AMRO Bank N.V., its former shareholder, by a mix of bank lines and capital market issues. The bank has diversified and lengthened its funding sources, and has established a well recognized presence in the financial markets, with a total 2 billion Euros public debt outstanding at Nov. 20, 2005.Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services expects the bank to further diversify its funding, either by instrument or investor. LeasePlan’s funding is independent from its new 50% parent, VW Bank.