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French car leasing firm ALD takes stake in mobility startup Skipr

·1-min read

PARIS (Reuters) - French car leasing group ALD is investing in Belgian mobility startup Skipr, the company said on Tuesday, aiming to shake up its range of services to include car sharing and even bikes as clients seek new travel options following the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALD, which is majority-owned by lender Societe Generale and has been listed since 2017, said it would take a 17% stake in Skipr. It did not disclose financial details but said the operation would be carried out through a capital increase, with current shareholders also taking part.

Skipr helps companies organise transport and mobility for employees through its platform. Firms that are used to leasing cars are looking at alternatives, in part due to environmental concerns and also as employees work from home more since the start of the health crisis, leading them to take fewer trips into the office every week.

"It's a turning point and an acceleration of our diversification strategy," ALD's strategy director, Pascal Vitantonio, told Reuters.

"It's a diversification into new mobility options that are more flexible and go a bit beyond company car programmes, which are our traditional business."

Vitantonio declined to comment on Societe Generale's plans for ALD and whether it might sell down more of its 80% stake, saying only that there were big commercial synergies between ALD and the bank.

A shake-up in the world of cars and transport has led to speculation ALD might open up its capital more to become more autonomous as the industry changes.

Vitantonio did not rule out that ALD could later buy more of Skipr.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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