Souter Investments expands in New Zealand

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Reesby Buses has been operated British-built vehicles under the CityRide brand for some time. ANY IZATT
Reesby Buses has been operated British-built vehicles under the CityRide brand for some time. ANY IZATT

NEW ZEALAND Souter Holdings, Highland Global Transport’s operations has continued its expansion with the acquisition of Rotorua-based operator Reesby Buses in the same week that it launched its new umbrella brand, InMotion Group.

Announcing the acquisition of Reesby Buses, Sir Brian Souter said putting Souter Holdings’ bus, coach and ferry businesses together into the newly-formed InMotion Group was an obvious next step in the group’s growth and development.

“With’s acquisition of in May, and now the addition of Reesby, we felt it was time that the Group’s growing transport interests in New Zealand had a separate identity,” Sir Brian said.

InMotion, the new name for Souter Holdings’ transport operations, reflects the company’s focus on growing its urban, city to city, charter and tour service bus and coach businesses and its ferry operations, Group chairman Sir Brian Souter said today.

The Group’s operations include Auckland based ferry and bus operators Fullers Group, 360 Discovery and Howick & Eastern Buses, Wellington bus operator Mana Coach Services, Reesby Buses in Rotorua, and express city to city coach operators, and

Sir Brian said Souter Holdings executive Bill Rae would head InMotion Group and the management structure at the various operating companies would remain unchanged.

The acquisition of Reesby, expands the InMotion Group’s operations to over 340 buses and coaches and 17 ferries, carrying over 16 million passengers each year within and between towns and cities across New Zealand.

Bill Rae said Reesby, which had previously provided services to under contract, gave InMotion Group’s long-distance services a well-established Central North Island hub, which would improve operating efficiency and increase the range of services the company could offer.

Bill also said Reesby’s CityRide buses were a good fit with InMotion’s plan to further develop its urban service operations.

“A number of provincial urban services in the North Island are coming up for tender, and we will be looking very closely at all of those opportunities,” Mr Rae said.

“This is all in the context of a capital investment programme across the bus and ferry fleet that will continue to upgrade and extend the Group’s services and improve the experience for our customers. We expect to invest up to $100 million over a three

InMotion Group carries more than 16 million passengers each year across a variety of public transport services, including urban, express city to city, charter and tour bus and coach services and ferry operations.

Highland Global Transport is the transport arm of Souter Investments, the family investment office of Sir Brian Souter, co-founder and Chairman of Stagecoach Group plc. Souter Investments makes investments across a broad range of asset classes, with a primary focus on private equity; it also maintains allocations to other asset classes such as private equity funds, listed equities and property.

Highland Global Transport has considerable experience in road, rail, water and air passenger transport and has also invested in the transport related services, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.  Its team has experience of owning and operating businesses in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

In addition to InMotion Group in New Zealand, Highland Global Transport’s investments in the transport sector include the Polish, Finnish and Estonian intercity express coach operators, and; leading international bus and coach manufacturer Alexander Dennis; and the Turkish ferry operator Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri.

Souter Investments’ other unquoted holdings include stakes in Virgin Mobile Latin America, a virtual mobile network operator; Baywater Healthcare, a healthcare services business; Mobius Life, a specialist investment administration platform and authorised unit-linked UK life insurance company; and Finnish flexible packaging manufacturer Amerplast.

Recent exits include the sale of luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, the IPO of general insurer the esure Group on the London Stock Exchange and the sale of biofuel manufacturer Argent Energy to John Swire & Sons (Green Investments).