FirstGroup urged to sell USA operations by group’s largest shareholder

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FirstGroup’s largest individual shareholder, Iranian-born property investor Robert Tchenguiz, who holds a 4.7% economic interest in FirstGroup, said he would seek a shareholder meeting as soon as practical, and has urged the company to sell all of its operations in the United States. He has also asked for more clarity about strategic plans as the British bus and train operator works to sell its US intercity service Greyhound.

A spokesman for FirstGroup said in response that its First Student and First Transit division’s in North America were ‘valuable assets and well positioned with profitable growth.’

“The board has been consistent and clear that the objective is to realise value and therefore were a credible and deliverable offer to be received for these or any other business in the portfolio then, of course, the board would give that serious consideration,” it said.

FirstGroup American subsidiary Greyhound was put up for sale earlier this year due to competition from low-cost airlines, but the First Student and First Transit accounted for 60% of the company’s operating profit in 2019.

It is understood that FirstGroup is currently in talks with bidders for Greyhound.