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Business

Daimler to buy car-leasing firm Athlon

The German auto maker - known for its Mercedes luxury cars - has acquired the Dutch car-leasing specialist because of its strong market position, allowing Daimler to improve its fleet management services.

Daimler announced on Thursday that had signed an agreement with De Lage Landen group in the Netherlands to acquire its Athlon Car Lease International unit for 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion).

De Lage Landen is a subsidiary of Rabobank. Athlon manages a fleet of a total of 250,000 cars, much more than that of Daimler's unit with about 85,000 vehicles and trucks.

Daimler's finance chief Bodo Über said in a statement that fleet management was "a growth market," and that the purchase of Athlon would allow the carmaker to "enhance fleets with Daimler's products and mobility offer."

"This acquisition of a strongly positioned and innovative fleet management company is a key step for us in becoming a leading fleet management services provider," he added.

The German premium carmaker wants Athlon to continue running under its brand name. Athlon chief executive Frans Janssen said "the merging of Athlon and Daimler, two strong innovative brands, will positively contribute to our customers' ability to access an extended product and service range across Europe."

Both companies said the deal was subject to the necessary regulatory approvals and was expected closed in the fourth calendar quarter of 2016.

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uhe/kd (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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