Move puts First in direct competition with Stagecoach in South Manchester
First Manchester has agreed to acquire the Manchester bus business from Finglands Coachways for £50,000.
The acquisition of Finglands, which was established in 1907 and operates a number of commercial bus services and school contracts to the South and East of Manchester, is subject to OFT clearance and, if approved, is expected to be completed this autumn. The deal would see the firm’s white buses with beige, orange and brown stripes taken off the streets of Manchester.
The acquisition includes the lease of the current depot in Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, existing service registrations and the transfer of 100 staff. The fleet of 41 vehicles would be excluded from the sale although some may be used in the short-term to meet current service commitments. The sale also excludes Finglands’ coach operation.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the Finglands business saw unaudited revenues of £3.8m for the year ending December 2012, but in its last filed accounts, it made a loss of £266,000. The firm is currently in consultation with 14 staff regarding the future of its coach business, which is separate from the bus operation.
Peter Harris, Finance Director at East Yorkshire Motor Services, which acquired Finglands in 1992, said: “It is no secret we have made a loss for the last few years. This is an ideal opportunity for us to work with First and secure as many jobs as possible.”
Dave Alexander, Regional Managing Director for First in the North of England, said: “This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to Greater Manchester and represents an excellent opportunity to further grow bus passenger volumes. It reflects our strategy of focusing on those areas which offer the greatest potential for growth and allows us to improve bus networks for the communities we serve.
“We are looking forward, subject to OFT clearance, to welcoming our new colleagues to FirstGroup.”