National Express buys Lucketts

National Express has completed the purchase of Fareham-based Lucketts Travel Group.

As well as operating scheduled services on behalf of National Express the family-owned business provides private hire, chartered holiday and day trip services to tens of thousands of customers every year. The Lucketts Travel Group, which includes Coliseum Coaches, Mortons Travel, Solent Coaches and Worthing Coaches, is the largest coach operator on the South Coast employing 350 people and operating a fleet of 160 coaches and buses.

This acquisition provides National Express with a platform for further growth in the private hire, coach tours and corporate shuttle markets, as well as strengthening its network of operations in southern England.

Lucketts Travel Group MD, Tony Lawman – “It’s a fantastic opportunity for
the group”

The current Lucketts management team, headed up by MD, Tony Lawman, will remain in place reporting into Tom Stables, National Express Managing Director, UK and Germany. The business will continue to trade under its existing brand names.

Tom Stables said: “We already have a strong relationship with Lucketts so know it is a fantastic company with an excellent record of delivering high quality services.

“The acquisition enables us to expand further into the private hire and tours market and we look forward to welcoming all our new colleagues to National Express.”

Lucketts Managing Director, Tony Lawman, told Bus and Coach Buyer that National Express was attracted in part by the ‘buy and build’ acquisition business model, for which Lucketts created a special team: “I’m sure they could see the synergies.”

This is one of the biggest transactions in the history of the coach industry, if not the biggest.

“Lucketts Travel Group has a £27m turnover. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the group, and I am genuinely thrilled to be a part of it.”

Speaking to Bus and Coach Buyer from Canada, Ian Luckett said that he and his brother, Steve, have been retained to work at Lucketts in a steering and management role: “The deal has been on the cards for a few months. National Express were very interested in what we were doing to grow the business.

“The ‘safety first’ philosophy at Lucketts also chimes with National Express. Indeed, there are some areas in which I believe National Express will follow Lucketts.”

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