Zipcar Inc. announced on Feb. 2 the completion of its option to purchase a majority ownership interest in Barcelona-based Catalunya Carsharing S.A., known as Avancar. With this transaction completed, Zipcar is now the majority shareholder for the company with a controlling stake of more than 60%. This deal builds on Zipcar's initial equity investment in Avancar which was announced in December 2009.
"As the majority shareholder in Avancar, we look forward to developing Avancar's presence in the Barcelona metro area," said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "Avancar has made a strong start and we believe there is significant opportunity to scale the business with the benefit of our technology, processes and car sharing know-how."
"Additionally, our increased stake in Avancar is in keeping with our planned build-out of a car-sharing network in cities across Europe," Griffith continued. "With the completion of this transaction, along with the integration of our U.K. operations and the recently announced appointment of Frerk-Malte Feller as president of Zipcar Europe, we are gaining momentum as we work to grow and expand the car-sharing category and Zipcar's presence throughout Europe."
Avancar is the largest car-sharing service in Spain, according to the press release. The company operates a fleet of vehicles throughout the cities of Barcelona and Sant Cugat del Valles.
In a 2009 Zipcar study, supported by the Economist Intelligence Unit's data and methodology, found that Barcelona is a top 20 global car-sharing city.