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Auto lease firm buys US rival

The vehicle processing and logistics provider, based at Thurleigh, has finalised a multi-million pound deal for QEK Global Solutions (UK).

Paragon, which was founded only two years ago, has grown into a £20 million business servicing and preparing more than 35,000 rental cars a year before resale to the general public. It operates on behalf of major car manufacturers such as Ford, Daimler Chrysler and VWG, as well as rental firms such as NCR, Hertz and Avis.

QEK employs more than 500 people at its UK head office in Oxfordshire. Whereas PAL predominantly prepares cars ahead of resale, QEK looks after the demonstration and press fleets of the manufacturers. Combined sales are more than £50million following the deal but Paragon expects the figure to grow significantly over the next 12 months.

Group finance director Andrew Hetzel said: "QEK’s sales network offers Paragon some new and exciting sales avenues, particularly as both businesses have traditionally supported different car manufacturers. We look forward to working with their existing management to ensure all opportunities from the acquisition are realised."

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance supported the deal, providing an asset-backed lending package to secure the acquisition and provide ongoing working capital facilities.

Regional manager Chris Ball said: "There has been a significant amount of consolidation in the automotive service sector over the last few years. Paragon has been quick to recognise that in order to boost sales further, targeting a similar business with a distinct yet complementary offer was necessary.

"The completion of this deal marks a significant point in Paragon’s development, particularly as it enables management to build on existing manufacturer relationships, while also helping to develop new ones."

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