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Hitachi Capital Canada, CLE Capital Celebrate 5 Years of Collaboration

October 06, 2017, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Industry News

Five years ago, CLE Capital – formerly known as CLE Leasing - was a Canadian company embarking on a major shift: consolidating its presence in Canadian markets outside Quebec. Today, CLE Capital is a subsidiary of Hitachi Capital America and together, with parent company Hitachi Capital Canada, the two companies offer a comprehensive set of commercial equipment financing solutions across Canada.

2017 marked the fifth anniversary of the collaboration between CLE Capital (CLE) and Hitachi Capital America (HCA). In October 2012, Hitachi Capital Canada (HCC) was founded. It was headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, and became a subsidiary of HCA. At that time, HCA made the decision to position its brand in the Canadian market by entering into a service agreement with a well-established Canadian financing firm with high growth potential. For the next two years, CLE introduced the HCC brand in Canada through its team of managers, account managers and the entire administrative staff that manages contracts, disbursements to equipment dealers, and customer service.

In 2014, CLE was a private company based in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Since that time, it has matured and is benefiting from the advantages of being part of a large international group that can support its full growth potential. For mature companies, managing growth is always a challenge and, in the case of CLE, this challenge was supplemented by the need of finding the next generation for leading the company. On March 31, 2014, HCC officially announced the signing of an agreement to purchase all CLE Leasing shares. Bill Besgen, then CEO of Hitachi Capital Canada, said:

"CLE is an excellent company with an extensive sales network across Canada. They have been an excellent partner for Hitachi and this acquisition provides us with the ability to further increase our service and support to our manufacturing relationships with operations in Canada."

For the management of CLE and its shareholders, joining the Hitachi family meant integrating an internationally-known and respected company with an enviable global reputation. The HCC / CLE duo is now positioned as an important player in the Canadian commercial finance industry.

In 2014, the transaction was officially completed. After a two-year proof of concept partnership, the two companies united definitively. For CLE employees, they are now enjoying the ability to offer an expanded range of commercial financing solutions across Canada and enhanced career opportunities.

Almost two years after HCC's acquisition of CLE, François Nantel succeeded Luc Robitaille as president of CLE and HCC. This change also welcomed a meaningful transformation in the business development strategy. While continuing to offer traditional financing solutions, CLE and HCC are expanding their focus and efforts on more than just leasing and commercial lending. In the near future, the companies will provide Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses with revolving lines of credit, asset-based financing, and inventory financing.

CLE and HCC are also consolidating their presence in the Canadian market to facilitate the company’s growth strategy.

In addition to these new products, the sales and business development teams continue to grow. In 2002, there were 22 employees, and then up to 64 in 2012. Three years after the acquisition of CLE by HCC, the organization has now 156 employees – more than twice the number of 2012 – the initial year of the partnership with HCC.

These enhancements have enabled the company to enjoy considerable portfolio expansion. In 2000, CLE's portfolio was $13.5 million. Today, a few days before the official celebrations of the fifth anniversary of this strong and prosperous collaboration, the portfolio of combined assets has reached approximately $800 million.

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