Enterprise Buys Peugeot Rental-Car Unit

By Alex Webb and Dawn Kopecki
November 21, 2011 5:13 AM EST

Enterprise Holdings Inc., the biggest U.S. car-rental company, agreed to buy the vehicle-hire unit of automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen to add two-thirds more European branches and establish a presence in France and Spain.

The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, adds about 30,000 cars from Peugeot’s Citer SA unit, which had sales of 276 million euros ($371 million) last year, and Spanish subsidiary Atesa, St. Louis-based Enterprise said in a statement.

Enterprise owns National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-a-Car, as well as its namesake brand, and has more than 560 branches in Britain, Germany and Ireland. Citer, founded by Citroen in 1968 and a franchise partner of National’s since 1998, brings about 250 sites in France and a further 110 at Atesa.

“It’s a question of rationalizing our activities,” said Jean-Baptiste Mounier, a spokesman for Peugeot, Europe’s second- largest carmaker. “For Enterprise it makes great sense as it gives them a bigger European footprint. Although they’ve been here since 1994, they have no presence in France or Spain.”

The acquisition’s value will probably be revealed when it’s finalized toward the end of the year, subject to antitrust approval, Mounier said. The deal is likely to be worth no more than 100 million euros, according to Gaetan Toulemonde, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in Paris who said Citer is “non-core” to operations at Peugeot, on which he has a “hold” rating.

“With no overlap or duplication this will be a great strategic fit,” Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Andrew C. Taylor said in the statement. “More and more of our customers are asking us to expand in Europe.”

Peugeot fell 3 percent to 12.32 euros, the lowest price since March 9, 2009, and was trading down 2.3 percent as of 10:30 a.m. in Paris, where it is based. The Stoxx 600 Index of Europe’s biggest companies dropped as much as 2.4 percent.

Peugeot stock is the worst performer in the 14-member Euro Stoxx autos and parts index this year, having lost 56 percent. Enterprise is closely held.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Webb in Frankfurt; Dawn Kopecki in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at

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