Leasing was introduced in Belgium in November 1961 following the creation of the Leasing company, the S.A. LOCABEL. It took however another 6 years for leasing to be given a legal status through the law promulgated on November 10 1967 (Royal Decree n° 55).
From its birth in 1961, leasing has gone through the following evolutionary phases. During 1961 till 1980, leasing did not grow in a spectacular manner mostly due to the fact that investing without becoming the owner the goods was a psychological barrier difficult to overcome, and because of other financial solutions companies were more familiar with.
From 1980 to 1990
This decade was one of spectacular annual growth averaging 20 to 30 percent. This attracted many companies, both Belgian and foreign, to join the market and compete. As a consequence, many leasing companies were created, leading to a ferocious battle for market share in order to reach the required critical size needed for survival. It is worth noting that the demand for leasing was only marginally influenced by fiscal law, but rather grew owing to financial and practical matters. 1991 marked the end of the exceptional growth. Intensifying competition, deteriorating economic environment and the slowdown of investments had a major impact on leasing : the market shrank by 11% in 1992 and 18% in 1993. These unfavorable factors forced many leasing companies to review their strategy as they could reach neither their turnover targets nor their breakeven point. This difficult period was the trigger for a major market restructure : many leasing companies simply stopped their activities or were sold off.
From 1994 to 1999
In 1994, the leasing marked turned around : sales figures went up as major growth returned. This favourable trend was confirmed in 1999. During the same period, the leasing market, and particularly the car leasing market progressed from financial leasing to operational leasing providing more integrated services.