Zenith targets HGV market with CVL acquisition

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Zenith has announced that its new owners, private equity company Bridgepoint, has acquired Contract Vehicle Holdings (CVL) for an undisclosed sum to create a car to HGV, one-stop-shop mobility provider.

Bridgepoint bought Zenith in a £750 million deal last month, with the leasing company saying that investment from its new majority shareholder should help it build an “automotive superpower” within five years.

The acquition of CVL, a commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management company which specialises in the HGV market, could provide Zenith with the ideal springboard to achieve its growth plans.

Tim Buchan (pictured), Zenith’s chief executive officer, said: "We are delighted to announce this acquisition as we expand our total mobility provision. The combined organisation will deliver a truly unique proposition for car, van and HGV operators in the UK. CVL will operate as a standalone business, but will benefit from Zenith’s core infrastructure and funding."

CVL currently manages more than 20,000 vehicles, with Zenith ranked 7th in the 2016 FN50 list of the UK’s top 50 contract hire companies, operating a risk fleet of 58,392 vehicles – an 8% increase on the 54,248 vehicles reported in 2015. Taking into account the vehicles for which Zenith also provides fleet management services, that figure increases to about 85,000 units, with a focus on serving blue-chip customers.

Doug Smith, CVL’s chief executive officer, said: “This is an exciting development for CVL, its customers, employees and suppliers. The Zenith and CVL values and approach to customer service are strongly aligned and Zenith’s scale and funding capacity will enhance CVL’s ability to deliver exceptional service to its customers.”

With over 20 years of experience, CVL prides itself on offering a fully managed solution to its clients and is responsible for the management of some of the world’s largest companies’ commercial vehicle fleets. Based in Leeds, it provides contract hire, fleet management and leasing services and has most recently added telematics to its portfolio of services.

Bridgepoint’s Emma Watford said: “CVL has an excellent technology platform and shares Zenith’s customer-centric culture. The acquisition is complementary and is one of the building blocks we identified when we acquired Zenith to allow the company to open up new markets and extend its offer in the UK and Europe.”

Zenith and Bridgepoint were advised by Squire Patton Boggs (Legal), White & Case (Legal), KPMG (Financial Due Diligence and Tax), Weil (Legal), Henderson (Insurance) and ERM (ESG).  CVL and its shareholders were advised by Deloitte (Corporate Finance and Financial Due Diligence), DLA Piper (Legal), Mazars (Tax) and OC&C (Commercial Due Diligence).

The Zenith and Bridgepoint transaction remains subject to regulatory approval.


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