A consortium including the Volkswagen Group is poised to take a majority stake in worldwide rental car company Europcar by early 2022.
Like all companies within the leisure industry, Europcar saw its revenue plummet during the COVID-19 pandemic on the back of travel and movement restrictions.
The other two members of the take-over consortium are London-based asset manager Attestor Limited (which already holds a 12.8 per cent stake in Europcar) and Dutch vehicle importer Pon Holdings B.V, which counts VW Netherlands as a client.
The holding company’s stated intent for Europcar beyond the take-over is the creation of a “leading mobility platform”, catering to what Volkswagen sees as growing demand for “services complementing car ownership”.
Though Volkswagen will have a majority shareholding in the consortium’s joint holding company to be called Green Mobility Holding S.A., it insists it will “neither control the consortium nor Europcar” directly.
“Volkswagen will not control Green Mobility Holding and thus neither Green Mobility Holding nor Europcar will be consolidated into Volkswagen Group. All transactions with Green Mobility Holding and Europcar will be on an ‘arms’ length’ basis,” it said in a statement.
Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said the take-over bid was in line with Volkswagen’s wider strategy to move beyond selling passive cars, into providing mobility solutions and connected experiences.
For more on that: Volkswagen announces massive investment in electrification, software
“The mobility market is changing rapidly as customers increasingly demand new and innovative on-demand mobility solutions, such as subscription and sharing models to complement car ownership,” Mr Diess said.
“… Europcar provides advanced fleet management capabilities as well as a broad network of stations at major airports, railway stations and city locations and will help accelerate Volkswagen’s delivery of its ambitious mobility services targets.”
The proposed transaction was approved this week by Volkswagen AG’s supervisory board, having committed to a price of €0.50 for all outstanding Europcar Mobility Group SA shares.
Europcar’s share price on the final day before the consortium’s approach was made public was €0.39. The valuation implies an enterprise value of €2.9b ($A4.7b).
The takeover offer will be subject to a minimum exisiting-shareholder acceptance threshold of 67 per cent, but the consortium says it has already received “irrevocable commitments” from existing Europcar shareholders representing 68 per cent of the outstanding shares.
Therefore the deal seems a fait accompli.
The transaction is still subject to approval by the French Stock Market Authority (AMF) where Europcar is listed and the relevant antitrust authorities. The offer is expected to be filed by the end of the third quarter 2021 and be ticked off by the first quarter 2022.
Europcar is the leading mobility service and rental car company in Europe with over 3800 stations across 140-plus countries and a fleet of over 350,000 vehicles in 2019, serving over five million customers per year.
Europcar Mobility Group CEO Caroline Parot commented:
“As an independent company, Europcar Mobility Group is well positioned for growth…
“This agreement has the potential to supercharge this growth, by enabling our Group to strengthen its customer proposition, by developing sustainable alternatives to vehicle ownership.
“For our customers as well as for our employees, two global mobility service companies joining forces today makes a lot of sense and has great value creation potential.”
We wonder how long it’ll be before we see (wholly owned subsidiary) Europcar Australia’s lots full of Polos, Golfs, Tiguans, and perhaps some ID.3 electric cars…