Independent fleet lessor LeasePlan reported a 39% year-on-year leap in profits for the first half of 2013 to €171m (£146m).

The Netherlands-headquartered firm, which is 50% owned by the Volkswagen Group, attributed the growth to "positive risk mitigation measures" and improvements in certain European markets for second-hand ex-lease vehicles due to a drop in new car sales.

Revenue for the period was down 1.9% on the first half of 2012 to €3.71bn while the cost of revenue was also down 3.5% to €3.32bn.

LeasePlan’s capital and liquidity position improved over the six-month period with Tier 1 and BIS ratios up to 16.1% from 15.6% at the end of 2012.

The firm grew the number of vehicles under management from 1.35m at the end of 2012 to 1.36m at the end of June 2013 and in July opened fleet leasing operations in Russia.

Vahid Daemi, LeasePlan’s chief executive, said the company’s 50th anniversary year had "started off well" despite continued uncertainty in the market.

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Looking ahead to the rest of 2013, Daemi said market growth is "very tight", or absent in certain markets, and the global recession, while showing some signs of improvement, had not yet ceased to be a challenge.

Nonetheless, Daemi said he believes there opportunities for growth and he is "cautiously optimistic" LeasePlan will "maintain momentum" for the rest of the year.