Investor takes over Redwing and John James Luxury Travel

Investment business REL Investment Management has announced it has taken over multi-site South London and Kent operator Redwing Coaches.

The acquisition will see management team Nigel Taylor and Paul Hockley staying on as Directors and retaining a share of the business. Redwing will be restructured and operate as REL Redwing. Due to the affects of Covid, notably its impact on commuter services that Redwing ran a number of, a smaller fleet will be operated by the company. Despite its 55-strong fleet due to shrink, REL tells Bus and Coach Buyer that all drivers are to be retained. It also notes a few workshop and office staff redundancies are to be made due to moving premises. REL Capital reports the intention is to grow rapidly as the sector recovers from Covid.

REL Capital has also added the 15-vehicle strong Essex-operator, John James Luxury Travel, to its portfolio. Director Matt Watson is staying on at the business and retaining a shareholding. The business is operating alongside REL Davian North London Coaches, operated by Darren and Judy Wardle. Andy Scott, the man behind REL Capital, took over Davian Coaches in September 2020.

Andy invested £1.5m in 15 new coaches and has picked up 12 new contracts over the last 12 months, hopefully returning to profit once tourists and private hire work returns.

Andy’s team are in talks with three other operators about completing deals over the coming months with the plan to build a national group. The vision is to operate it as a group but with day to day operations taken care of by individual directors.

Andy says his secret for success is his belief that many troubled businesses can have a bright future if you have the patience to turn them around. He does this via his UK investment vehicle REL Investment Management. Scott and his team partner with the existing management teams of failing businesses and “steer them to calmer waters before turning them back to profit,” he said.

The 42-year-old businessman has had to turn around his personal life too, battling bankruptcy and mental illness after he “lost it all” in the 2008 financial crisis. He said: “So when I go and see a company, I have empathy for the business owner. I’ve been there myself; I understand they are not sleeping, worrying about losing everything.”

REL Investment Management currently owns, invests and partners with 10 businesses across the recruitment, hospitality, property, and transport sectors. REL own 80% of the companies and management teams retain 20%.

“For owners faced with closing down a business, doing a deal with us is a great option” – Andy Scott

Andy Scott added: “For owners faced with closing down a business, doing a deal with us is a great option. We save your company, keeping all staff on, owners retain their salary and benefits, a smaller share of the business, we can agree an exit plan for you if you want to retire in a couple of years, and we take the boring bits off of you like accounting, credit control, payroll, etc. We also only invest if we think we can grow the business and profits quickly, so advise owners to think pound signs rather than percentage.”

  • Watch an interview with Andy Scott here.

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