Despite strong growth in Slovakia's leasing market over the last two years, further expansion is expected across the board, according to Milan Randák from the Association of Leasing Companies in Slovakia (ALS).
2001 was a particularly strong year for leasing companies in Slovakia, with an overall rise of over 50 per cent in the value of new contracts, and 2002 saw a further rise of 15 per cent, Randák said.
Out of the Sk40 billion (960 million euro) of new contracts signed last year, three quarters were for leasing of road vehicles, an area that has seen almost continuous growth over the last 10 years. With the leasing of private cars reaching 45 per cent of new purchases, it is fast approaching Western standards (in the UK the figure is 51 per cent).
The three biggest leasing companies in Slovakia - CAC Leasing, ČSOB Leasing, and Tatra Leasing - handled over 60 per cent of the road vehicle leasing last year.
When it comes to other vehicles however - trains, planes, and ships - the market has still not reached its potential, experts say. This is a traditional area for leasing, but 2002's record Sk344 million (8.2 million euro) represents less than 1 percent of the total leasing market, Randák said, adding that he expects this to rise significantly.
Another popular area for leasing is office and industrial machinery. Leasing of computer and office equipment dropped by 12 per cent from 2001 figures, to Sk732 million (17.5 million euro), according to ALS figures. This area was at its strongest in 1998 when it was worth Sk1.4 billion (99 million euro) and held 7 per cent of the total leasing market, much higher than last year's 1.8 per cent.
There has, however, been a large increase in the leasing of industrial machinery, which is now at two and a half times its 2000 levels and represents over 20 per cent of the whole sector, bringing in Sk8.6 billion (205 million euro) last year.
According to analysts, recent changes in VAT laws make leasing even more accessible to companies now, so more growth will be seen in the coming years.
31. Mar 2003 at 0:00 | Conrad Toft