ComfortDelGro is to take full ownership of Scottish CityLink and acquire the marketing and customer service activities of megabus UK along with the South West Falcon service from Stagecoach
ComfortDelGro is set to become the United Kingdom’s second largest inter-city coach operator following an £8.75 million deal with the Stagecoach Group. As part of two agreements, ComfortDelGro will acquire Stagecoach’s remaining 35% stake in Scottish Citylink Coaches, turning it into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ComfortDelGro Group. Scottish Citylink, which became a 65%-owned subsidiary of ComfortDelGro in 2005, operates 19 long-distance express services within Scotland, linking the seven cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Perth and Inverness as well as some rural Highland communities.
Concurrently, as part of the deal, the ComfortDelGro Group will also acquire the marketing, retail and customer service activities of Stagecoach’s megabus UK coach business and the Falcon coach service which operates in the south west of England.
megabus, which commenced operations in August 2003, now links 90 locations in England and Wales, whilst the Falcon service, which was launched in 2016, connects Plymouth, Exeter, Cullompton, Wellington and Taunton with Bristol Airport and Bristol city centre. It operates 19 journeys a day, seven days a week.
The ComfortDelGro Group, which currently operates 100 inter-city coaches across the UK, will see this number increase to 150 upon completion of the deal which is expected at the end of February 2022. With that, ComfortDelGro will become the second largest inter-city coach operator in the country with a market share of about 11%.
ComfortDelGro Managing Director and Group CEO Yang Ban Seng said: “The Scottish Citylink, megabus and Falcon acquisitions provide us with an excellent platform to further grow our coach business in the UK. We intend to leverage the experience we have gained in our existing operations to roll out new and innovative services for our passengers in England, Wales and Scotland as we position ourselves for post-covid recovery. We will continue to look at opportunities to grow our businesses in the UK, which remains one of our most significant investment destinations.
Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths added: “Stagecoach developed the megabus brand in 2003, as we saw real potential in the long-distance inter-city coach market in the UK. In 2005, our belief in this market saw us create a joint venture with ComfortDelGro to run the Scottish Citylink business, and we further expanded our inter-city coach business with the development of our bespoke Falcon service in the South West of England serving Bristol Airport. Through this transaction, Stagecoach ensures that the inter-city coach market in the UK remains robust and competitive and we know that under the ownership of the world renowned ComfortDelGro brand, these businesses will continue to thrive.”
Stagecoach will continue to operate megabus, Falcon, and Scottish CityLink services throughout the UK, along with a number of independent operators, under contract to its new owners. Other ComfortDelGro coach and bus operations in the UK and Ireland include Metroline and Westbus in London, Adventure Travel in Cardiff, Wales and Irish CityLink in Galway, Ireland.