back to article BT flogs off its fleet vehicle maintenance arm to German private equity types Aurelius

BT is selling its fleet vehicle maintenance and leasing business to German private equity firm Aurelius. BT Fleet Solutions looks after not just BT and Openreach vans, but also thousands of vehicles for other companies. A BT Openreach van, used by engineers installing and repairing IPTV telephone, broadband, ADSL and …

  1. adam payne

    Munich-based Aurelius plans to work with existing management to, er, "drive growth" via "operational improvements", along with investment in heavy goods vehicles, accident management and vehicle funding. It is also looking to expand both organically and through acquisition.

    Drive growth by penny pinching, outsourcing as much as possible and charging customers ridiculous amounts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I see you are new to capitalism. This is how the world works.

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    By the time they've sold everything off, they will have completed the transition from being virtually a monopoly to being a monopoly virtually. And they'll still complain they can't make enough money.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will my van be ready??


    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: When will my van be ready??

      Allo!, Allo!

  4. gautam

    So no more Openreach Engineers then.

    They will now easily blame this new entity for cancelled or unkept appointments, since they were arranging spares parts from Germany !

    BT has been given another excuse for poor or non performance.

    Just like the ISPs blame the BTOR for fault repairs (they dont have a choice), now its gone a step further.

    Extreme & ruthless Capitalism, as practised in Britain.

  5. gautam

    Price rise?

    So if they have paid a substantial amount to BT for this deal, they will expect a quick return on investment. One guess about which way the price rise would go . To BT, who willl then pass it on via ISPs.

    How convenient.

    WItness how many price rises have occured after Liberty media took over Virgin. Customers are only a cash cow number, to be gouged as deemed fit. Upwards pyramid for the shareholders.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Price rise?

      >Upwards pyramid for the shareholders.

      Ordinary shareholders not so much. Preferred shareholders and other insiders -- well, there's the trough, have at it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do hope the Fleet guys are treated well, they were always a breath of fresh air to use as a member of the public.

    Take your car in for work and be told whats actually needed, no more, no less as they had no incentive to pad the job. A registered MOT place too.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT no more....

    My company thankfully ditched BT Fleet last year for new vehicles after countless complaints of shoddy workmanship, horrific delays for minor repairs (one van, an incredibly rare Ford Transit, was away for 3 weeks for brake pads!) and repeatedly returning vehicles to us with the same problems it went in with.

    My faith in the local BT garage vanished when my van spaffed all its diesel over the brakes as I was driving along the motorway before cutting out leaving me with absolutely no brake force to grip the now diesel covered brake discs, which I discovered as I was heading onto a downhill slip road. The gods were looking fondly on me that day as I pulled a two wheeler at 50mph round a 90deg bend and coasted to a halt. After investigation, BT said it was “driver error”. Yes, my dodgy driving caused a jubilee clip to come loose from an engine that had mysteriously only been replaced by BT a mere 3 days previously.

    I think my company has spent a ridiculous amount on hire vehicles over the years we have used BT to make up for their ridiculous timeframes for repairs. Compared to our new provider who use local garages and main dealerships and will return vehicles the same day for most minor repairs.

    Good riddance to them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sold to Germany??

    I know Brexit is a dirty subject to most, seeing as the majority who voted FOR it are only the lower end of the intellectual scale according to the Remainers, but what happens if Boris actually does manage to follow through on 'the will of the people' and leave the EU? Maybe we should just be done with any pretence of being a democracy or a sovereign state and hand everything over to our lords and masters in Germany and France - we're heading that way anyway, so why waste time and effort pretending? Maybe start by rebranding BT as DT?

    And on top of everything else, we will have another load of skilled workers who will end up on benefits because there are no jobs for them while the money that used to pay them now goes overseas - this time into the pockets of the German private equity firm - so no chance of any of it being spent in the UK. Still, as long as the management have their jobs and bonuses, does it really matter who gets paid not to do any work?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Sold to Germany??

      And on top of everything else, we will have another load of skilled workers who will end up on benefits because there are no jobs for them while the money that used to pay them now goes overseas - this time into the pockets of the German private equity firm - so no chance of any of it being spent in the UK. Still, as long as the management have their jobs and bonuses, does it really matter who gets paid not to do any work?

      Sorry to spoil a good rant but trying to link this deal with Brexit is bizarre; UK business has been getting gobbled up by non - UK businesses since long before Brexit became a thing. As it happens I don't like foreign takeovers of UK businesses any more that you do. When GB was Prime Minister I used to find myself grinding my teeth because he always liked to call it "inward investment"; I have no idea if he believed his own misinformation or not, but I certainly didn't.

      I accept that people either like or loathe the idea of leaving the EU, but please don't run away with the idea that it will have much effect either way on "foreign" interests controlling a large part of the UK economy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sold to Germany??

        And, of course, there are plenty of foreign companies owned by British ones. That's how a capitalist world works.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sold to Germany??

        Sorry Commswonk, I didn't make it clear those were two separate issues - the first paragraph was because I am wondering how this, like all the other businesses sold off to European investors (power stations & electricity "generating" companies, tech companies, etc) will continue to function when/if we leave the EU.

        The second paragraph is because, even if a significant percentage of the staff are retained, most of the money that would have flowed into BT and been subject to UK taxation etc will now move to Germany - taking all of the government's skimmed-off, sorry "hard-earned" tax money with it. As you say, this has nothing to do with Brexit and, to be fair, the fact that it is Germany rather than any other foreign nation is relatively unimportant (except inasmuch as it gives the German economy a boost at a time when the European Central Bank is frantically looking for anyone to invest in the Eurozone... but that's another story).

        Posting as Anon because I voted Leave but most of the people I work with are so rabidly anti-Leave that they are only a two pitchforks and a ducking stool away from being a witch-hunt.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sold to Germany??

      Plenty of non-EU owners of British companies - TATA Steel, for example. Not a few foreign owners seem to do better than native British management (e.g. the Japanese car makers). The real issue you have missed is the workers' rights: out of the EU there will be pressure to drop down to US or lower entitlements. If some of Boris's chums have their way it will be goodbye to statutory redundancy pay, sickness benefit, paternity leave etc - those benefits will all be "choices" for you to fund yourself with insurance. And we all know how insurance firms like paying out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sold to Germany??

        You've clearly never lived in a country subject to the excesses of EU rules. Hard to hire staff because it's so hard to do layoffs that you can't afford to hire someone unless you're sure you'll need them for years. The US system is too brutal, but the UK gets it about right as far as balance between protecting workers and giving companies the flexibility they need. We don't want to back to the days of the 1970s where the unions think they run the country.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Sold to Germany??

        >there will be pressure to drop down to US or lower entitlements

        Got news for you (from the good 'ole USofA). What entitlements?

        Most states in the US are what are known as "Right to Work" states. This bit of Doublethink actually means you have absolutely no rights -- you can be fired at any time without any reason with zero notice (you're also able to leave your job at any time, of course)(just don't bank on getting another one....). Unemployment is paid for by deductions from your paycheck, you should get it assuming you didn't leave work volutarily or get dismissed 'for cause'. It lasts typically six months at maximum and becomes part of your taxiable income for the year.

        Sickness benefit is a good 'un. What's been going on in the company that I (fortunately) retired from is fairly typical. You get three days a year, anything beyond that comes out of your vacation time and once you've used that up..... (Vacation, BTW, is typically 10 paid days a year rising to 15 after 5 years. There are also a handful of public holidays but don't expect anything extra -- Christmas is one day, so is July 4th (it used to be customary to get two days off but since 2008 the belt got tightened and never got relaxed). If you want to make a public holiday into a long weekend typically have to book paid time off in advance to get paid for that holiday.

        Then there's the benefits, absence thereof. I won't bore you further. Suffice to say that when I first came to the US in the 80s the UK's working week was 37.5 hours, 9 while 6 with lunchtime counting as work time. Now its 44 hours and its following US practice -- 8 while 5 and lunchtime is not paid. Back then the pay differential was worth getting screwed for, these days not so much but then there's the Brexit about being between a rock and a hard place...... (Also, BTW, if you do come and live here you belong to the IRS. For life.....)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cop cars

    I watched a few episodes of some cop car workshop TV program and it became immediately obvious that vast sums of money were being wasted. A minor bump to a traffic car and that's a complete new front end. health and safety and all that. Now THAT needs outsourcing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cop cars

      Have you seen how most modern vehicles are made? Tinfoil and bailing twine springs to mind...

      One of my friends had an old Ford from 1960-something that got terrible fuel economy but was built like a car should be. He got T-boned by some idiot tourist who was looking the wrong way at a roundabout and slammed into the side of my mate's care as he (the tourist) accelerated hard "in case anyone came along" (from the wrong way?!).

      Long story short, my mate's car needed a couple of hours in the body shop so the door panels could be straightened and the door pillar checked to make sure it was still capable of holding the car together while the tourist's hirecar was condemned to the scrapheap because not only was the front end about eighteen inches shorter than it should have been and the radiator pretty much wrapped around the engine block, but the entire chassis had been warped in the impact. Hell, you can cause a couple of thousand pounds-worth of damage just by leaning on some modern cars in the wrong place - the skin is so damn thin, it creases and cracks the paint so the whole damn panel needs to be replaced and colour-matched ...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having worked with the "operational task force" from Aurelius in another life I can say with almost certainty they will be cost cutting straight out of the blocks, this unfortunately will include redundancies.

    In my previous role they put the company into receivership twice in less than 4 years, leaving many suppliers out of pocket, they blame Brexit but I would take a closer look at the management.

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