Tayto boss Ray Coyle signs Windsor car deal

Ray Coyle – best known as the owner of the Tayto and Hunky Dory crisp brands – is teaming up with Windsor Motors to invest in its fleet management division.

indsor Motors plans to hive off its fleet management business into a new entity called Autolease Fleet Management, with Windsor and Mr Coyle then taking an equal share of the new firm. It will trade under the Sixt name.

The Irish franchise for Germany-based Sixt is owned by Conor Kelly and his wife. Its leasing and fleet management business will become part of the new Autolease entity. Mr Coyle is already an investor in the Sixt leasing business here.

Windsor, which controls the Nissan distribution network in Ireland, is owned by the wealthy Kuwaiti Al-Babtain family.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Coyle confirmed that a deal is being progressed but has still to receive clearance from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CPCC). The Commission has already been notified of the planned transaction, and as long as its probe doesn’t extend beyond a phase one investigation, a decision is due within a couple of weeks.

“I believe it’s a good business that will give good returns,” said Mr Coyle.

Windsor chief executive James McCarthy said that the deal will help the fleet management unit to grow. It’s currently a relatively small player in the Irish market, with about 1,300 vehicles in its fleet and another 600 that are managed on behalf of clients. The biggest player in the market is Lease Plan, with Merrion Fleet Management close behind.

Conor Kelly – who co-founded Merrion Fleet – said that Autolease will primarily target the SME market. He said there are about 30,000 vehicles in Ireland that are in contract leasing or fleet management arrangements, with the potential for this to rise to as much as 150,000.

Mr Coyle is using his Irish Bison firm to effect the transaction with Windsor. The latest publicly-available set of accounts for Irish Bison show that it had net assets of €45.3m at the end of June 2014.

Largo Foods operates a manufacturing site in Ashbourne, Co Meath. Mr Coyle also opened Tayto Park there in 2010.

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