First’s Finglands acquisition

First Manchester Ltd, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of FirstGroup, has agreed to acquire the Manchester bus business from Finglands Coachways Ltd for a consideration of £50,000. Finglands became a subsidiary of the East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) Group in 1992 and runs a number of commercial bus services and school contracts to the south and east of Manchester. The bus business saw unaudited revenues of £3.8m for the year ending December 2012. The deal includes the lease of the depot in Rusholme, existing service registrations and the transfer of approximately 100 employees. If the deal receives clearance from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), it is expected to be completed during autumn this year.

Fingland’s fleet of 41 vehicles are not included in the sale, although some may be used in the short term to meet current service commitments before new vehicles are introduced. The sale excludes the Finglands coach business. The acquisition allows First Manchester to expand its bus operations in the region. It currently operates around 700 buses and employs 2,000 people. In the past 12 months, First has lowered a number of its fares in the Greater Manchester region by around 30% and saw passenger volume growth of around 8% in the three months between April and June.

Regional MD for First in the North of England, Dave Alexander, said, ‘This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to Greater Manchester and represents an excellent opportunity to further grow bus passenger volumes. It reflects our strategy of focusing on those areas that offer the greatest potential for growth and will allow us to improve bus networks for the communities we serve. We are looking forward, subject to OFT clearance, to welcoming our new colleagues to FirstGroup.’

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