Real estate leasing up to 8.2% in Romstal's portfolio

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Romstal Leasing, the company acquired by Belgium's KBC financial group last year, financed goods worth 45.8m euros in the first four months of 2007, up 49.3% on the same period last year.

"The registered growth was based on the financial conditions we offer, the network expansion of local offices, which now includes 27 branches, and also on the development of instant leasing and real estate leasing products," Ionut Chirila, marketing manager with Romstal Leasing, told ZF.

Out of the company's overall portfolio, the financing product that boasted the fastest increase in the first four months of the year was real estate leasing.

At the end of April, real estate leasing accounted for 8.2% in the company's portfolio, a significant increase from the 5.7% registered at the end of last year and almost five times higher than registered in the first four months of 2006.

"The strong growth rate witnessed on the real estate leasing segment can be attributed to the potential of the market that we've been betting on since last year, as well as its overall development (the segment posted a threefold increase in 2006 against 2005)," explained Chirila.

Real estate leasing doubled on the overall leasing market, from 2.4% in 2005 to 5% in 2006, when the leasing market surged by 62%, to 3.26bn euros. Last year also saw real estate leasing secure financing contracts worth 147m euros, in comparison to a level of almost zero registered on the overall market in 2003.

Industrial and commercial property got most of the funding in 2006, accounting for 52% in the total real estate leasing.

Within Romstal Leasing's financing product portfolio, car leasing accounted for 40.8% in the first four months of 2006, light and heavy commercial vehicles for 41.4%, motorcycles for 2% and equipment for 7.6%.

"Romstal Leasing maintains its growth target for this year and plans to finance a volume of products worth 170m euros in 2007," concluded Chirila.

The entire leasing market is expected to rise to by 32% in 2007, overall financing goods worth 4.3bn euros, according to estimates made by the Leasing and Non-banking Financial Services Association (ALB).

Members of Romstal Leasing's board of directors were replaced after KBC Lease Holding, a unit of the KBC group, finalised the takeover of the majority stake (99.33%) of the leasing company in March, as a result of a decision made by the shareholders.

KBC Lease acquired the entire stake held by Romstal Imex in the leasing firm, 92.05%, along with the 7.28% owned by shareholder Niculae Tanasescu.

The Belgian company also became the owner of the INK Insurance Broker, in an overall deal totalling 70m euros.

The other three shareholders in Romstal Leasing retained their stakes in the company's share capital.

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