BNP Paribas has announced that Arval has signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Capital to potentially acquire its European fleet management business.

The scope of the acquisition covers more than 160,000 vehicles in 12 European countries, of which France, Germany, and the UK represent more than three-quarters; the vehicle assets have a value of up to 2.4 billion euros ($2.64 billion) as of the first quarter of 2015. This transaction will increase Arval's worldwide vehicles under management to about 900,000 worldwide, according to the company.

"For BNP Paribas Group, this acquisition will enhance the presence of our fleet management business on the Europen markets. This transaction further illustrates the Group's active strategy to strengthen the leadership of its specialized activities in Europe," said Thierry Laborde, deputy chief operating officer of BNP Paribas and head of Domestic Markets.

The deal is part of a global transaction by which Element Financial Corporation, Arval's partner in North America, has agreed to buy GE Capital Fleet Services' businesses in the United States, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. Through these deals, Arval and Element Financial's global alliance will have 3 million vehicles in 40 countries, according to the company.

"Arval will become the leaders in full-service leasing in Europe, and I'm sure that our clients will highly benefit from our geographical coverage, expertise, and scale. We are also enthusiastic about this new cooperation with Element Financial, and we are deeply convinced that this will bring value to both partners," said Philippe Bismut, CEO of Arval.

The completion of the transaction is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2015, subject to the execution of the final documentation after work council consultations, and to necessary regulatory approvals, according to the company.