Published: 01-03-2019 18:12
Stern Groep N.V., the listed Dutch market leader in automotive retail, is pleased to report that it has reached agreement with leasing company ALD regarding the sale of all shares in SternLease B.V. Stern and ALD will simultaneously be entering into a 7-year strategic partnership agreement for the signing of new lease contracts and the supply of cars and mobility services by Stern. The transaction is scheduled to be completed in late May 2019, following approval by the shareholders during the General Meeting on 9 May and approval from the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM). The proceeds from the sale of the SternLease shares will be in excess of € 80 million.
Henk van der Kwast, CEO:
“We are very pleased with the partnership as envisioned by both partners. We believe this alliance will significantly boost the business of our dealerships and SternPoint, as well as further improve the integrated mobility services we provide to our customers.
Mike Masterson, CEO of ALD:
“SternLease has developed a competitive position in the SME and private lease market for long-term leasing services. This transaction further enhances our strategy to increase the reach of services brought to our customers. It is an example of our ability to identify bolt-on acquisitions with key differentiation factors to expand our coverage. We are very pleased to welcome the SternLease teams and look forward to a successful collaboration with Stern Group.”
Carel Bal, Director of ALD Netherlands:
“During the process of talks and negotiations between Stern Group and ALD, we got a chance to build an even closer relationship as partners. It’s great to see that such powerful players in the automotive industry will now be joining forces.”
Fast Forward Reloaded
On Capital Markets Day, held on 20 December 2018, the Management Board presented the Fast Forward Reloaded strategic plan for 2019 – 2021. A key component of this plan is entering into a strategic alliance with a lease partner to whom the lease portfolio will be sold. Stern sees great opportunities in a close partnership with a strategic partner in leasing that has an interest in a dealer group with an extensive branch network, a large number of leading brands and direct contact with a sizeable group of customers. The company believes it has found this strategic partner in ALD.
Sale of SternLease and strategic partnership
As one of the world’s largest lease companies and the largest in Europe, ALD currently operates a fleet of more than 50,000 cars in the Netherlands. ALD will be acquiring subsidiary SternLease, which currently has 13,000 operational lease contracts in its portfolio, mainly with small businesses and consumers. This transaction fits ALD’s development strategy as the acquired customer base is concentrated mainly in the small-business market, one of the high profitable growth segments of the leasing market.
In addition to agreement on the acquisition of SternLease, the partners also negotiated a 7-year partnership agreement under which Stern will continue to sign new lease contracts through its own dealer network and under the SternLease label and in which Stern, as ALD’s partner, will supply cars and mobility services like car maintenance, car body repair and car rental.
Stern received assistance in this process from ING Corporate Finance and law firm Van Doorne, which provided financial and legal advice, respectively. The company also secured a fairness opinion from ING as part of the transaction.
Of the current management board of the division Stern Mobility Solutions, which controls SternLease, SternRent, SternGarant and Stern Electric, Marco Vlaar will remain as Director of the division, whereas Arnout Veld has decided to pursue his career outside of Stern. Te Board of Directors of Stern Group thanks both gentlemen for their important contribution to the successful build up of the fleet over the recent years and the financial results achieved.
Stern intends to use a portion of the proceeds to accelerate the company’s proposed digitalisation process, optimise its dealer network and expand SternPoint into a network of national relevance. Once its finances have been reorganised, Stern Group will, after the approval of the Supervisory Board, decide on the allocation of the proceeds.
During the General Meeting on 9 May 2019, shareholders will be requested to approve the proposed transaction, the partnership agreement and, after the Board of Directors has decided with approval of the Supervisory Board, a proposal regarding the allocation of the proceeds from the sale of the SternLease shares.
Publication date of 2018 results
Due to the sale of SternLease, the audit by the accountant has not yet been finalized. The 2018 results of Stern Group will therefore be published no later than 21 March 2019 instead of 7 March 2019.