16 June 2022

All change at the top?

Its been a busy time for the big bus groups. Stagecoach has agreed to be taken over by DWS which means that the offer from National Express has fallen by the wayside. Presumably this will mean that The Falcon will remain with Stagecoach now. Shortly before the DWS bid was accepted Stagecoach in London purchased Lea Interchange Depot and operations from Kelsian Group for £20 million. MorningStar. I thought at the time it seemed an odd time for Stagecoach to make this purchase but then we see that Kelsian had made a bid to purchase Go Ahead Group, along with another bid from Kinetic / Globalvia.

It now seems that the Kinetic / Globalvia bid is the preferred option for Go Ahead:

One of Britain’s biggest transport companies, the Go-Ahead Group, has accepted a £650m takeover bid from a consortium of the Australian bus operator Kinetic and the infrastructure specialists Globalvia.

Go-Ahead, a leading provider of UK bus services and the operator of the UK’s biggest commuter rail network, Govia Thameslink Railway, said its board unanimously recommended the offer to shareholders, after receiving two approaches from buyers.

It is the latest British transport company to become a takeover target, along with Stagecoach and FirstGroup.

Go-Ahead said the proposal was a “compelling offer”, a cash bid that values the group at 24% more than Friday’s closing price, before the approach was public

A deal would be expected to be completed in October, should shareholders accept the terms. The leadership team would remain in place and the group would stay headquartered in Newcastle and London.

Christian Schreyer, the chief executive of Go-Ahead, said: “This is a compelling offer which combines an attractive valuation for shareholders with bright prospects for Go-Ahead’s operations and colleagues around the world.

“We have confidence in Go-Ahead’s future as an independent business but see that being part of a truly global mass transit platform will yield exciting opportunities.”

Michael Sewards, a co-CEO of Kinetic, said his firm, as Australia and New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing operators of buses, “will not only provide the necessary long-term capital but the expertise to facilitate the rapid transition of Go-Ahead’s bus fleet from diesel to zero emission technology”. Guardian

It remains to be seen what effect new ownerships will have on local operations by Stagecoach and Go Ahead once the dust settles.

A wet evening at Derriford Hospital

Library:

DWS Bid for Stagecoach... Routeone

Stagecoach buys east London bus operations

Go Ahead Group – Statement re possible offers.

Go-Ahead accepts £650m takeover offer from Kinetic and Globalvia _ Go-Ahead _ The Guardian

 First Group optimistic of returning bus passenger volumes amid takeover offer rejection

7 comments:

  1. Plymouth citybus to be sold to First ? That would be a turn up for the books...lol

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  2. So much for Brexit and stopping British businesses being taken over for foreign businesses.

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  3. probably nothing to do with the takeover, but the branding colours for Go South West have recently been updated from the light blue to Grey & Red. probably to fit in with the PCB/GCB red bus branding. The takeover should however provide multi-year support for the new buses so desperately needed across the group however.

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    1. The takeover is unlikely to make any difference to receiving new buses for several reasons and all operators / groups are in the same boat. Covid has meant that most operators are now around 2.5 years behind in their fleet replacement programmes as orders were cancelled and lower (and only slowly inceasing) passenger numbers means there is obviously lower confidence in investing huge sums in new buses. As and when things pick up all operators will want new vehicles simultaneously and potentially will want to catch up on the lack of new vehicle intakes since 2020, especially if they are committed to meeting environmental / green targets. That's if passenger numbers return to normal and if services aren't cut back, two big unknowns. The other factor is lack of availabilty - the semi-conductor problem isn't going to be solved quickly and the global supply chain issues means that manufacturers can't get the parts to make the vehicles in the volumes needed or wanted. Anyone tried to buy a new car recently or seen the prices of second-hand ones? At work, we've been put on an eighteen month waiting list for a new van and one of our delivery companies has finally received four new trucks but was told that there was no chance of getting any more for well over a year. This is all going to take a long time to play out and whilst I'm sure all the big groups will have orders in, that may just compound the problem and there's not going to be any guarantees as to when any orders will get delivered, it'll depend when you are in the queue and if the manufacturers can get the right parts. It's going to be interesting to watch....!

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    2. Thanks 'anon' for the well thought out comment. Id agree with all of this - with the additional complication with the additional funding that some areas have been promised (NOT Plymouth) much of which will be going towards new electric buses. Even if the funding has not matched the promises (surprise surprise) there are some fleets who will be due large numbers of new buses. If you are not on that list then its unlikely many new buses will be forthcoming for a while. There may be some mid life vehicles being moved around the big groups though...

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  4. Stagecoach are looking tired

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  5. First seem to be still buying new buses (Streetdecks for Leeds, Streetlites for Hampshire & Bradford) as well as electrics for Glasgow and consequent cascades.

    Go south are in the course of receiving new diesel ADL400MMCs for the uni services in Bournemouth & Poole; again no doubt there will be consequent cascades but I'm not sure any will reach Plymouth (I think Swindon is more likely).

    But i agree in general the industry is building up trouble by delaying/deferring orders, albeit for very understandable reasons.

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