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home / media magazine / the leasing market continues to consolidate and develop

The leasing market continues to consolidate and develop

At first, it must be said that the leasing market in Romania is characterized through a high focusing degree. A number of five companies hold almost half of the profile market total and approximately three quarters of the total value of the contracts concluded at the level of the ASLR member companies.

The concentration of the leasing market in a small number of companies is natural, considering that among them there are subsidiaries of certain dealers, such as Porsche or Iveco, and of several banks, such as BCR, the largest bank in Romania.

The leasing market in Romania has continued its positive evolution throughout the year 2005. According to the data supplied by ASLR (Association of the Leasing Companies in Romania), the estimative value of the leasing contracts in the first 3 trimesters of 2005 was of 1,599.8 million euros, which represents almost 88% of the value of the contracts concluded at the level of the year 2004, which makes us estimate that the numbers achieved in 2004 will be easily surpassed in 2005.

From the total value of the contracts, 860.5 million euros were concluded by ASLR member companies, in the conditions of a value of the financed assets of 706.5 million euros, the ASLR members holding a market share estimated at approximately 54%.

This increase had as a basis mainly the clients, private legal bodies. Within this group, there was accentuated the perception according to which it is not the ownership right over the fixed assets that generates profit, but their use with maximum efficiency. The commercial companies are truly aware of the importance of the leasing transactions as a manner of financing the investments.

The private legal bodies have represented in the first 9 months in 2005 approximately 63% from the market total, the public sector and the NGO-s represented approximately 26%, while the physical persons held a share of only 11%. From the point of view if the number of leasing contracts in progress at the end of trimester III, from the total of 46,628 contracts 67.8% are related to the private sector, and the public sector, the sector of other clients and the NGO-s representing approximately 32.2%.

The structure of the leasing market depending on the nature of the financed assets did not suffer major modifications. The auto vehicles continue to have supremacy, holding, at the level of ASLR in the first 9 months, with a weight of 90.5%. In this group, the vehicles clearly detach themselves, with a weight of 66.9% from the total of the assets financed by the ASLR members, in increase compared to the 61.1% held in 2004, while the utility vehicles, commercial vehicles and buses have a weight of 23.6% compared to 31.6% held in 2004. Still, the weight held by auto vehicles is in a slight decrease compared to 2004, when they represented 92.7% of the market. The specialists consider that the auto leasing has reached its peak and from here on forward it will no longer be the main increasing factor. The financing through leasing is preferred mainly in case of auto vehicles from the import. In the category auto vehicles, the acquisition of the ones from import was financed in a proportion of 54% through leasing, the difference of 46% being represented by the acquisitions in installments or in cash. The weight of leasing in case of auto vehicles of domestic production is much more reduced, reaching only 14%. In case of commercial vehicles under 3.5 tones, 65% of those coming from import were financed through leasing, while only 23% of those of domestic make were bought through leasing operations. The gap is even higher in case of commercial vehicles of over 3.5 tones. For those bought from the import, the leasing represented 72%, and for those of domestic make, of only 4%. As it can be noticed, for all 3 segments - auto vehicles, commercial vehicles under 3.5 t and commercial vehicles over 3.5 t (including those meant for passengers), leasing holds the highest weight in case of those coming from import. The main explanation is the fact that in case of the imports of vehicles, they are excepted from paying the import obligations throughout the contract deployment; these will be paid at the end of the contract, having as basis for the tax 20% of the asset entry value. Also, auto leasing is also favored by the fact that the most important auto importers have also developed their own leasing companies, primarily providing the financing of the brands they represent.

The decrease of the weight of auto vehicles was compensated by the positive evolution of the weight of financing in leasing destined for the area of industrial equipment, where it was reached the level of 6% from the sales. The leasing for industrial and agricultural equipment is estimated to gain in the following years, both as volume, and as weight in the value of the leasing contracts. Both this year’s increase and the increases that are provisioned in the future will be mainly determined by a much more accentuated strategic orientation of the leasing companies towards this segment. The experience so far has demonstrated to the leasing companies that financing the equipment is much more profitable than the financing of other types of products. In addition, in this segment, there can be seen new development opportunities, not exploited until now. Taking into consideration the coming close of the moment when Romania joins the European Union, the request for equipment in the field of environmental protection will increase significantly in the period immediately following, since more and more companies will be forced to invest in this field, for the obeying of the environmental regulations.

Real estate leasing continues to situate itself at a low level, with a weight under 1% in the total financing, even if it registered progress, compared to 2004. The reduced development of real estate leasing is explained by the influence of several factors. One of the issues claimed by some managers of the leasing companies is the unclear legislation in this field. Another reason is the fact that for many companies, real estate leasing did not represent a priority until now, for some of them this product actually missing from the offer. From the companies that oriented themselves to real estate leasing, as well, the majority finance only the buying of existing buildings, very few being also involved in the financing of the building construction, this activity being considered by many as too difficult and hard to follow (involving the obtaining of construction authorizations, the elaboration of projects, the actual construction etc.). The customer segment to which real estate leasing is addressed is much more reduced, orienting itself only towards companies, neglecting the physical persons. Even for companies, the financing system is quite selective, many leasing companies accepting to finance the buying of buildings with considerable value, imposing a minimum value threshold below which the financing is not accepted.

For 2006 it is expected that the leasing market should reach the value of 2.5 billion euros, mainly as a result of developing operational leasing, the real estate one and equipment.

The main deployment direction of the leasing contracts was represented in 2005, as well, by financial leasing, holding a weight of 96.8% from the total of the concluded contracts, the rest of 3.2% representing operational leasing contracts. It is estimated that the operational leasing market will also develop in the future years in Romania, aiming at a value of 10% of the market, level that characterizes at the moment the majority of the countries from Central and Eastern Europe. On the markets in the west of Europe, operational leasing reaches values of even 60% of the market.

The operational leasing has as object the placing at disposal of the companies an auto fleet, for a well-determined period and for a certain number of kilometers made. The orientation of the players on the operational leasing market is to offer the customers not only the auto fleet, but also full services for its maintenance. Thus, the concluding of a full service operational leasing contract is basically equal to the externalizing by the company of the activity to administer the auto park.

The advantages of entrusting the auto park to the leasing company are the saving of time and effort for maintaining the park by the company, the reduction of the exploitation costs of the auto park, the guarantee of a well-kept auto park, permanently in an optimal technical condition, the efficient administration of the budget meant for maintaining the auto fleet. In the European Union, the increase rate of the operational leasing market is estimated in 2006 at 4%, and for the countries in the east of Europe at 20%, taking into consideration the fact that the countries in EU this market has reached its maturity, while in the east it is in the beginning stage.

Short history

The leasing operations are relatively new elements on the financial markets. The first leasing operations deployed in the United States in 1954, this being the moment of establishing the American Leasing Corporation. In the following period, the activities specific to leasing registered a rapid development, expanding in all developed countries in the world, being an important element of the economy market mechanisms.

In 1994 there was established the first leasing company in Romania, and the first legislative regulations were elaborated in 1995. In 1997, as a result of the rapid development of the leasing activities, there appeared the first specific law regarding leasing operations - Governmental Ordinance no. 51/1997, being adopted as such in 1998. Having as purpose the promoting of the leasing operations and their advantages on the Romanian market, in February 1996 there was established, by 3 leasing companies present on the market at that moment, the National Union of Leasing Companies - NULC (Rom. UNSLR).

Recently there was elaborated a new law project that disturbed the waters on the Romanian leasing market. The new project stipulates that the leasing companies should become companies on shares and should increase their share capital to 25,000 euros, as well as the obligation to constitute provisions to cover the risk of not paying the debts by the customers. The leasing companies will also have to present BNR a report regarding the origin of the funds destined for constituting their share capital.

The financing procedure

Depending on the stages of the financing operation, in the deployment of a leasing contract there are involved at least five parties: the leasing company, the customer or final user, the financing bank, the supplier of the asset that is going to be bought and the insurance company. The stages of a leasing operation can be shortly synthesized as follows: choosing the asset and the supplier, obtaining the offer and requesting the financing, the analysis and approval of the leasing company, the concluding of the contract, the asset general insurance, the asset delivery.
The documents necessary for obtaining the financing vary depending on the legal personality of the one requesting the financing and have the role of highlighting and guaranteeing the reliability and payment capacity of the applicant. In general, the necessary documents are represented by the financing application or the order form (standard documents), financial documents, that illustrate the financial situation in the last two years of activity, legal documents (registration certificate, fiscal code, establishing certificate, constitutive act and additional acts, etc.), user’s commitment-declaration, the proforma invoice, with a detailed description of the asset and its technical characteristics, of the payment and delivery modalities, the price and the payment currency.

The increase expected in the year 2006 - half a million euros

The leasing market will exceed this year the level of 2.2 billion euros, compared to the 1.8 billion euros, the sum of the leasing contracts in 2004, out of which 1.1 billion belonged to the ASLR member companies, recently appreciated the president of the Association of the Leasing Companies in Romania (ASLR).
The ASLR representative claimed that, according to the studies executed by a consultancy company and the Association he leads, the leasing market could reach 4-5 billion euros in the following 2 years.