07 October 2009

Sale Saga continues

"This report needs to be rewritten because it's completely biased”

PlymTransit on Twitter
THE latest report on Plymouth City Council's market testing of the value of its shares in Citybus is "completely biased", a councillor claims. "This report would lead you to come to no other conclusion than to sell the shares," Honicknowle Labour councillor Mark Lowry said.

The council has invited bids to buy its 100 per cent shareholding in Citybus as a way of finding out the company's true value. Council chiefs believe they may be able to get a better return for the city's money than the small annual dividend paid by Citybus. The council has now received "a significant number of bids well in excess of £10 million".

Mr Lowry, a member of a scrutiny group set up to monitor the process, claimed the report gave the impression that around £6.8million of investment needed Citybus over the next four years would have to come from the council rather than the company's own reserves. "This report needs to be rewritten because it's completely biased," he said.

The council received 11 expressions of interest in the summer, but only five have now submitted initial bids. "We have invited a number of bidders to resubmit their bids by October 21, and these will be reviewed by October 27," Mrs Pengelly said.

First Group, the main rival to Citybus in Plymouth, pulled out of the race in August. Project manager John Cremins told councillors: "If they had won the bid they would have had 98 per cent of the bus market in the city and it's highly unlikely that the Competition Commission would have allowed that to go through."

Cllr George Wheeler (Lab, St Budeaux) said there was no reference in the report to the Chester bus company, which faced fierce competition during its sell-off process, which "almost completely wiped out its value". "I'm very surprised that Chester wasn't used to guide our process," Mr Wheeler said. Mr Cremins said the Plymouth exercise was being done far more quickly to avoid the Chester risk.

This is Plymouth

1 comment:

  1. the word around the depot is that there are only two bidders left stagecoach and go ahead


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