“Attractiveness of ALD stock will only increase”
As we reported earlier this week, leasing and business mobility specialist ALD has announced that it will launch a €1.2-billion capital increase this month. Following the news, Fleet Europe had an exclusive folllow-up Q&A with ALD CEO Tim Albertsen.
At the press event on Tuesday, Mr Albertsen called the capital increase - launched the help finance ALD’s acquisition of LeasePlan - “a major milestone in creating the world’s leading sustainable mobility provider.”
In total, 161.6 million new shares will be offered at a subscription price of €7.5 per share. The subscription period will run from 2 to 13 December, inclusive. The rights issue will be available in France only.
Mr Albertsen, is there any difference between existing shares, rights and new shares, for example with the second emission of shares for LeasePlan shareholders?
Tim Albertsen: “There are indeed a few differences between shares. Firstly, with regard to the 2022 dividend payment. LeasePlan shareholders will not benefit from the 2022 dividend payment, even if the closing of the acquisition expected in Q1 2023 occurs before the dividend payment. Only existing shares and those that will be created as part of our €1.2-billion rights issue will be eligible to the payment of the 2022 dividend.”
“And secondly, on voting rights. Double voting rights will be introduced, subject to approval by the General Meeting of the ALD shareholders, and will benefit the shareholders of ALD shares in registered form for more than two years. LeasePlan shareholders will undertake to hold their ALD shares in bearer form, in such a way that they will not benefit from double voting rights.”
How do you expect the value of ALD’s shares to move as a result of this transaction?
“We believe that the market is convinced by the strong strategic and financial rationale of the LeasePlan transaction. The combined entity is expected to create significant value for the stakeholders, which will surely support the level of our share price. Moreover, the liquidity of our stock is expected to grow at closing and during subsequent years, attracting a wider range of investors that will also support the level of our share price.
How do you explain the current rather low valuation of ALD shares, with a price-to-earnings ratio of less than four?
“We believe that the current share price doesn’t represent the value of our company. As a matter of fact, it is way below the average target price of analysts covering our stock, which is circa €18.”
“The announcement of the rights issue and the upcoming closure of the LeasePlan acquisition, awaited by the market, is a highly positive development for our share price. The attractiveness of our stock will also increase due to the rise in the value of our free float.”
A few days ago, the European Commission cleared ALD’s acquisition of LeasePlan on condition that you would divest from several European countries. Are those divestments at hand, and if not, could their delay impact the timeline of your merger and integration?
“We expect to close the LeasePlan-ALD Automotive deal in Q1 2023. The goal will be to carry out divestment in a timely manner for all parties. It is too early to communicate a timetable, as divestiture is subject, among other things, to suitable market interest, negotiating and signing an agreement with the purchaser, and customary closing conditions to be defined, including potentially regulatory and antitrust clearances.”
Are those six EU countries mentioned the only ones with merger issues? What about countries outside the EU, like Turkey for instance?
“We have obtained all expected merger control clearances, including in Turkey, Brazil, Mexico and the UK, conditioning the completion of the acquisition of LeasePlan. The last clearance to be obtained was from the European Commission.”
Image: Fleet Europe.