Three more bought by REL Capital

The ‘angel investor’ completes on three further coach businesses including London’s oldest coach company, Lewis Coaches

Entrepreneur Andy Scott investment firm REL Capital has continued its acquisition drive within the coach sector, having purchased three more operators by way of retirement sales, with two further acquisition in the pipeline in the coming months.

Lewis Coaches based in East London was first established in 1919, and is the oldest coach company in London, covering all of London, North West Kent and South West Essex with its modern fleet of 20 vehicles. Included In the sale is a separate business of a large MOT station, trading as ‘MOT Factory’ which will continue to service the fleet and third party work from its East London Thamesmead depot alongside the Epsom Explore Tour branded coaches.

The Lewis brand will be retained long term, operated by leading London operator REL Redwing, with Peter Lewis remaining in the business in a senior management role, James Lewis remaining as Transport Manager within the combined Redwing/Lewis operation, and Thomas Lewis continuing to run the workshop. Tim Lewis and Keith Payne are retiring after 50 years and 15 years respectively within the business, to enjoy their grandchildren and spend more time with families.

Tim and Peter Lewis said of the sale: “We are happy to sell to REL who have built a reputation as being good operators, with strong brands and a professional young team within our sector, and happy they will continue the Lewis family name within their operations.”

Tom Maidman, Director of REL Redwing, said: “We wish Directors Tim Lewis and Keith Payne well in their retirement on a warm beach somewhere, but look forward to working alongside Peter Lewis and welcoming the remaining Lewis family, drivers and whole team to REL Redwing team, which is 20 minutes from our Gravesend Depot in Kent and 40 minutes from our Croydon depot. Redwing intends to be a 100-strong operator of London coaches within the next two years.”

Elsewhere, North London and Essex based REL Davian has continued its acquisitions of Essex operators near its Romford and Rayleigh depots, having completed 100% share purchase of Advance Minibuses in Southend, with Directors Brian and Shirley Southgate retiring. Advance operates a mixed fleet of full-sized coaches and minibuses from its large site in Rochford.

The third acquisition is KB Coaches, in Wickford – a private hire operator with a mixed fleet of full-sized and midicoaches, with the sellers also retiring. KB will be rebranded under the Davian brand.

Matt Watson, Director of REL Davian, said: “With the busy summer season approaching, we are really happy to take over another two local operators, allowing them to go and enjoy retirement, while we welcome all the new drivers to our friendly team. We had recently increased our O licence to allow for new acquisitions, as well as recently purchasing 15 vehicles to increase our Essex presence.”

Andy Scott, REL Chairman, said: “Our model of buying and building is working, and our operators are seeing enormous synergies working , sales wise, keeping everyone’s wheels turning as part of a larger group with earnings on track for £ 2.5m EBITDA this year. We will continue to grow both organically and by acquisition over the coming months, welcoming any chats with operators looking to retire or in need of investment through partnership.”

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