Element Fleet Management Corp. has purchased fleet safety and accident management provider The CEI Group, the company announced. Under the terms of the deal, which closed on Dec. 30, 2016, for an undisclosed amount, The CEI Group and Element Fleet Management North America will continue to operate as separate entities. Each reports up to Element Fleet Management Corp., the parent company located in Toronto, according to Element Fleet Management International President & CEO Jim Halliday and CEI President & CEO Wayne Smolda.
“I applaud Element for respecting and preserving the interests of our customers and our channel partners by keeping us independent,” said Smolda.
Smolda and the rest of The CEI Group’s management team will remain with the company. Smolda will report to Halliday who reports to Brad Nullmeyer, CEO of the Element Fleet Management Corp.
Halliday said that among the reasons Element purchased The CEI Group was because of its leadership in the fleet safety and accident management space and to tap into the other markets CEI operates in, such as insurance.
Smolda noted that Element will give the Trevose, Pa.-headquartered CEI the momentum to grow and innovate with new products and services.
“CEI has had lots of innovations and developed numerous products for its customers. We’re going to accelerate this,” Halliday said.
Element’s accident management, risk, and safety business will be merged into The CEI Group by 2018, increasing its number of employees from 250 to 360 and the number of units under management to 900,000 representing nearly 1,300 accounts, according to Smolda.
“The best news for The CEI Group’s customer base: nothing will change. It is business as usual for us,” said Smolda. “But now we’ll be able to grow faster and develop technology faster.”
Smolda said that among the areas that could see growth for the safety and accident management business is the truck market.
Founded in 1976 as a Philadelphia-based collision repair business, CEI entered the fleet accident management business in 1983, adding rental vehicle, loss recovery, and salvage vehicle remarketing to its menu of services within its first years serving fleets. In the 1990s, CEI transitioned to a digital technology infrastructure. In the early 2000s, the company launched its fleet driver safety business, DriverCare, allowing fleets to monitor, assess, train, and intervene using an online safety app. The company’s reach went global in 2016 with the establishment of the Global Fleet SafeDrive Alliance with CEPA SafeDrive and VVCR International. Global Fleet SafeDrive provides a turnkey, fully integrated multinational fleet safety program, which is expected to continue and increase in scope due to the sale to Element, according to Smolda and Halliday.
Founded in 2007, the Toronto-headquartered Element Fleet Management Corp. is the largest fleet management company (FMC) in North America. The company acquired PHH Arval in 2014 and GE Capital Fleet Services in 2015. At the end of 2016, Element split into two publicly-traded entities, a $18-billion fleet management company, Element Fleet Management, and a $8-billion commercial finance company, ECN Capital. The company reports that it currently has more than 1 million vehicles under management. Element provides fleet management services in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, and in 50 countries through the Element-Arval Global Alliance.