APT Coaches purchased by REL Capital
Essex-based APT Coaches has been purchased by REL Capital, an investment firm set up by businessman Andy Scott.
REL Capital says it continues to ask operators who may be struggling or considering closing to get in touch to explore ways it can help keep them open.
Rayleigh-based APT Coaches has been established for over 50 years and operates a number of school contracts alongside its private hire and tour work. It runs a modern fleet of Volvos and has its own maintenance facility.
APT will be operated by REL Davian, which last year purchased John James Luxury Travel in nearby Billericay and Romford. The business will be run by Matthew Watson, Managing Director of REL Davian and his team. Matt said: “We look forward to welcoming another long established business to the group, and welcoming the APT drivers to our team, and ensuring the business goes from strength to strength over the coming months and years.”
It marks the seventh acquisition in the coach sector over the last two years by investor REL Capital, who bought South Mimms Travel and Reg’s Coaches in May of this year. The investment business has two more operators in the pipeline with terms agreed to work with London operator Redwing Coaches.
REL reports seeing large synergies with the management teams working together to keep all fleets busy, and on larger group opportunities. REL can partner with operators with them retaining a share, or look at 100% share purchase on retirement sales. It can even consider asset purchase if restructuring is required. Deals are usually completed within two weeks, according to the firm.
REL changed its investment criteria from distressed purchases after Covid to retirement purchases, but is still actively looking to speak to operators who do not want to carry on and considering the possibility of closing down.
Andy Scott, REL Chairman, said: “It is particular frustrating when you see some larger operators shutting down over the last couple of months, without reaching out to see if there is a third way, where jobs could have be saved, creditors minimised, banks not having to sell off all assets or the opportunity to see if these business can be turned around with our investment.”