What were the financial results with which Business Lease closed 2016?
For us, 2016 was the year of challenges, in which we had to adjust various processes, to regroup and focus our forces in the right and profitable directions. And at the end of 2016, we were on the first position in car fleet management, with a market share of 27% and with an increase of 21% of the operational lease portfolio, compared with the same period in 2015.
The good results from the first quarter of 2017, confirm that the actions taken last year are the right ones, and that the basis on which we build our business is a solid one.
What projects and development strategies do you have in view for 2017? Tell us a few words about your expansion plans for this year.
Currently we are expanding our business as we are opening a branch office in Cluj-Napoca this May. The team is in place and we already see the great potential of this area.
Moreover, we continue to focus on our core business and benefit from our expertise and experience in car fleet management. We also intend to improve our services through launching new innovative tools that have already been tested and used by our sister-companies in other countries.
What are the trends on the Romanian leasing market, compared to other countries in which your company is active (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Netherlands)?
Romania is the youngest market, so in that respect it pretty much follows the developments of the other markets. The core products are full operational service lease, car fleet management and (short term) rent. What you see however is the development of direct online communication with the car, our customers (fleet managers) and the company car driver. From the start of this year for example each new delivered vehicle is equipped with a connected care device. This device provides actual mileage reading, average fuel consumption and information about the vehicle that the driver gets via its dashboard which enables Business Lease to fulfil its role as mobility manager and at the same time provide customers those data which are crucial in controlling the overall costs. Another example is our online service application. Via this application each driver can schedule Service and Maintenance in just 4 clicks.
Considering that today we celebrate “King’s Day”, the National Day of the Netherlands, can you briefly describe for us how Dutch investors see Romania?
It is always difficult to generalize, but both based on my experience as a Board member of the Netherlands Romanian Chamber of Commerce and my own experience as a business man we look at the developments of Romania with optimism. Romania displays one of the highest increase of GDP in the European Union, it has a high educated workforce and people speak their languages. My main concern is however the lacking infrastructure. When traveling to neighbouring countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic, I always notice their activities in building and improving the quality of their highways. If only Romania would do 50 percent of this, it would support economic growth to a large extent.