“I feel privileged to lead LeasePlan to its next stage of development. It’s a great company with dedicated staff and a strong international track record of successfully serving an increasingly diverse client base for over 50 years. As our markets will become more dynamic, LeasePlan now embarks on the next phase of its development. In recent weeks we have identified ample opportunities to further unlock the potential of LeasePlan and deliver more value for both customers and investors. We have designed a new value creation model and have started to build a more integrated organisational structure. During the coming months we will undertake a strategic review and further shape our vision for the road ahead. We anticipate providing a more concrete and detailed view on our plans at the end of the first quarter of 2017.”
Gross profit for the first nine months increased by 9% to EUR 868.6 million versus EUR 798.7 million for the same period a year earlier. When adjusting for one-time items in both 2015 and 2016, the gross profit increased by 6% year-on-year. This performance was supported by growth in the number of vehicles under management over the past 12 months and continuing strong margins on lease services. Margins on damage risk retention also continue to be strong, reflecting an increased focus on improving penetration of our fleet insurance services. Results of vehicles sold over the nine-month period is ahead of the comparable period last year, despite some softening in the third quarter.
Operating expenses increased by 3.5% to EUR 666 million in the nine month period as numerous investments for the future resulted in relatively higher expenses for group-related IT harmonisation, marketing and consultancy services in the period under review.
Net profit for the first nine months of 2016 amounted to EUR 395.2 million, reflecting an 11% year-on-year increase. In addition to the one-time item noted above, the business recognised unrealised losses on financial instruments of EUR 5 million (net), largely due to the weakening of the British pound sterling. In contrast, LeasePlan benefited from positive unrealised gains on derivative financial instruments of EUR 6 million (net) during the first nine months of 2015. Net profit excluding these one-time items and unrealised gains/losses on derivative instruments increased by 6% year-on-year.
The company’s diversified funding strategy continued to develop effectively, with two public senior unsecured transactions completed in the first nine months of 2016 and an increase in LeasePlan Bank retail deposits in the Netherlands and Germany by EUR 468 million to EUR 5.5 billion. LeasePlan’s capital and liquidity position remained healthy and LeasePlan’s common equity tier 1 capital ratio increased to 18.4% at the end of September 2016.
In the first nine months of 2016, Lease Plan’s fleet grew from 1.55 million to 1.64 million vehicles. The company also made further progress in differentiating its client base, with SME and Private Lease representing the fastest growing segment, achieving 19% year-on-year growth in vehicles under management.
LeasePlan also generated further fleet growth among its larger international clients, growing this segment of its fleet by 9.2% year-on-year to 450,000 vehicles under management. The Corporate segment showed a year-on-year growth of 6.3%.
LeasePlan Insurance has also performed well, with the insured fleet growing by 12.3% over the last twelve months as a result of increased marketing efforts and a more integrated commercial approach.
LeasePlan embarks on the next phase of its development. The new leadership team is in the process of designing a more integrated organisation structure to maximise the potential of the company. We are confident that this more integrated approach, coupled with a new value creation model, will deliver meaningful benefits for our customers and investors. We anticipate providing a more concrete and detailed view on our strategic roadmap at the end of the first quarter of 2017.