Go-Ahead embarks on a buying spree

Go-Ahead Group has expended its bus operating interests across south-east England with the acquisitions of two independents and the impending takeover of one of First’s London garages.

Go-Ahead Group has expended its bus operating interests across south-east England with the acquisitions of two independents and the impending takeover of one of First’s London garages.

The independents are High Wycombe-based Carousel with around 50 buses and Hedingham Omnibuses with 86 buses and five depots in Essex and Suffolk. The Carousel takeover was announced on 20 February and the Hedingham deal on 5 March.

On 29 February, staff at First London’s Northumberland Park depot were informed that it is negotiating to sell the premises, contracts, routes, staff and 130 vehicles operated there to Go-Ahead from 28 March.

These deals fit in with the group’s strategy of making bolt-on acquisitions to expand its bus operations. When it announced its results for the half-year to 31 December — pre-tax profit up from £44million to £50.7million — chief executive David Brown said: ‘Our strategic focus of operating in more vibrant urban areas, predominantly in the south-east, combined with innovative local marketing and the promotion of smart ticketing, has continued to deliver passenger growth.’

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