The Covid-19 lockdowns have been distressing for many businesses but radical changes to consumer habits and commercial activities have resulted in many companies seeing a spike in demand. A great example of this is ‘Days Fleet’, a vehicle leasing company which forms part of the Days Motor Group. The Group was founded in 1926 and is now one of the largest private businesses in the UK. Its main activities are national business vehicle leasing and daily rental and new vehicle franchise dealerships across South Wales.
Founded in 1988 Days Fleet operates over 7,500 vehicles across the UK throughout the public and private sector. During the pandemic, demand for commercial vehicles across all sectors increased significantly and the firm experienced unprecedented demand from its wide range of public sector clients.
This created a need for extra funding – and fast. With a business model of contract hire for 12 months to seven years, cash flows against the new investment would be predictable – but only if new vehicles could be brought into the fleet and delivered to clients with urgent needs.
Days Fleet had been a client for some time and was well-versed in the options for alternative financing, so the relationship was already on a sound footing when, in early 2021, the company sought to execute its expansion plan, ready for a period when the lifting of lockdowns would see a fresh shift in activity.
“We were introduced to ABN AMRO a number of years ago and the relationship had been building since then,” says Managing Director, Aled Williams. “We approached them with this opportunity as we were confident they would be able to assist with extra funding. Because they’re a smaller funder in the UK, they are able to move much more quickly. Their flatter hierarchy means we have direct access to the decision makers.”
ABN is helping with Days Fleet’s growth expectations by providing the requested increase in the facility from £12.5m to £20m during 2021.
Future plans depend on how the market will open up again as Lockdown 3 ends. That’s not just about car or van usage patterns. For example, changes in tax on company cars could have a negative effect on the car sales market. But there’s also a strong case for people not wanting to use public transport in the post-pandemic era, so there may be increased demand for more flexible car use. “When there are opportunities, we don’t want to be restricted by a lack of funding,” says Aled. “We always look for partners that can grow with the business.”
For the Days Fleet team, working with ABN AMRO Lease brings one other valuable benefit. “Looking at the environmental challenges we are all facing, we need to be aware of sustainability and we value working with partners that also have an eye on this as well,” says Aled. Motor transport is at the heart of sustainable solutions to issues such as climate change. “We want to be in partnership with people that have that long-term views rather than the short-term ones. It helps that ABN AMRO are very easy to talk to – and if you have funding needs they should be one of the partners you consider.”
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