AUSTRALIA Deloitte has announced that Custom Coaches, the Australian bodybuilder that Alexander Dennis placed into voluntary administration on May, has been sold to a consortium led by Mark Burgess and Allegro Funds, a Sydney-based private equity fund manager specialising in turnaround investment. The new company operating the business is Custom Bus Australia Pty Ltd.
Under the new ownership, the business will operate from its existing Sydney manufacturing base at Villawood and continue to build city and school buses, offer vehicle servicing, repairs and refurbishments. Custom Care and the aftermarket business will also be maintained in Adelaide, but not manufacturing. More than 120 employees are being offered ongoing employment.
Deloitte Restructuring Services Partners Vaughan Strawbridge and Tim Norman were appointed Voluntary Administrators of Custom Coaches Pty Ltd and Custom Coaches (Sales) Pty Ltd on May 30, 2014. On appointment, and alongside their investigations into the financial position of the business, they immediately commenced a comprehensive sales process.
Vaughan Strawbridge commented: “Custom Coaches is the largest bus builder in NSW (New South Wales), and the second largest nationally. This sale is a great outcome for vehicle manufacturing in NSW and means the survival of a business that has been serving customers around Australia since 1935.
“During the Administration, we have created a leaner more efficient business and, importantly, been able to secure the jobs of a large number of employees.
“Custom Coaches’ people have worked tireless to continue to build the highest quality, Australian-made buses in the market, and it is a testament to their efforts that the buyer sees a viable and bright future for the business. Many of the employees have been with the company for more than 20 years, and I am particularly pleased for them that so many jobs will be retained.”