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Abris Capital Partners to acquire Masterlease Polska

Abris Capital Partners, a mid-market CEE-focused private equity group, has signed an agreement to purchase Masterlease Polska, a Polish auto fleet management business.

Abris and its syndicate members have partnered with the company’s management to acquire the business from GMAC, the US-based financial services group part-owned by the car manufacturing giant General Motors.

The price has not been disclosed.
 
Prime Car Management, later operating under Masterlease brand, was established in 1995 by business partners Grzegorz Waluszewski and Jerzy Kobyliński, initially to provide vehicle leasing services to a rapidly expanding number of international and domestic corporate clients in Poland.

In 2001 the company was acquired by GMAC to become part of its global auto finance operations. Today Masterlease operates a fleet of over 24,000 vehicles.
 
Waluszewski says: “We are delighted once again to be an independent company. The market in Poland continues to expand rapidly and we have a number of exciting ideas about how we can further increase our market leadership.”

The acquisition has been completed after over 12 months of negotiations, against a background of turmoil in both the automotive and financial sectors.

Paweł Gieryński, a partner at Abris, says: “We were initially attracted by the market-leading position of Masterlease in Poland. Also, the excellent management team which founded the business and which is responsible for its success is still in place and were keen to join us in trying to purchase the company. We could also see that the auto finance industry in Poland remains relatively undeveloped compared to typical Western markets, so there are clearly plenty of growth opportunities over the next few years.”
 
Abris has made use of Warsaw’s new Catalyst market, a specialist trading platform for corporate and government bonds recently launched by the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Through a placing with Polish and international institutional investors, Abris has been able to arrange the placing of over PLN500m of Masterlease corporate bonds which, together with the equity commitment of Abris and its partners, provided the total funding necessary to complete the transaction.

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