Equipment Leasing is not a recent invention. Indeed, historians and economists believe that the first equipment leasing transactions took place in ancient Sumer from c. 2000 BC onwards.
The Sumerians were the first to use a place value numeral system and create multiplication tables. Sumerian writing is also the oldest known example of writing. They used triangular or wedge-shaped reeds to write on moist clay and the clay tablets found in the Sumerian city of Ur contain information about the lease of agricultural implements, land, water sources, cattle and other animals.
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Historians have also argued that Aristotle referred to the idea of leasing in a treatise saying “Wealth is in use, not ownership,” written around 350 BC.
In more modern times – in the 1880s – the Bell telephone company introduced the concept of leasing instead of selling telephones, a decision that proved instrumental in the company’s success. But it was not until 1952 that the first industry association was formed; ‘The United States Leasing Company”. In the early 60’s American business practices had spread across the ocean to Europe. The first European leasing company – “Deutsche Leasing GMBH” appeared in 1962 in Dusseldorf. And the mid-60’s leasing transactions in the U.S. already accounted for 1 billion dollars.
In Western Europe the first financial leasing companies emerged in the late 50’s – early 60’s. In England, the “Mercantile Leasing Corporation” was formed in 1960 and following changes to tax legislation and the clarification of the legal status of leasing contracts, the number of leasing agreements began to quickly grow.
WestWon’s leasing heritage dates back to to 1976 with the acquisition of Power Leasing Limited, one of the first leasing intermediaries to incorporate in the UK.
Equipment leasing today
Today, in the 21st century, leasing is widely recognised as one of the most effective ways to purchase costly plant and equipment and to upgrade existing capital assets. According to the UK Finance and Leasing Association FLA, £21.5 billion of finance was provided to businesses and the public sector, representing around 28% of all fixed capital investment (excluding real property and own-account software) in the UK last year.
As one of the UK’s leading leasing companies WestWon specialises in IT leasing, office furniture and fit out leasing and leasing for many other sectors and public organisations.
The Sumerians certainly knew a good idea when they saw one. Make sure your business takes advantage too! For more information about equipment leasing deals, you can download the essential guide to leasing – Finance Your Business Plans – or call WestWon on Tel: 01494 611 456.