Vectare acquires Simonds of Botesdale

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Simonds has been acquired by Vectare, but the name will continue. KARL OAKLEY

Vectare is continuing its expansion and has recently acquired of Simonds of Botesdale, a coach and bus operator with a heritage of 96 years of passenger transport services. The business, which is based in Diss, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, operates home to school, private hire and rail replacement transport services, alongside tours and day excursions and a small network of local bus services. The business will remain operationally separate from existing Vectare/Central Connect and Flagfinders operations.

Commercial and Operations Director at Vectare Peter Nathanail highlighted the strengths and synergies that Simonds will bring to the wider Vectare group, saying: “We’re immensely privileged to be able to join forces with Simonds and continue the excellent work that Martyn and his team have done for so many years. We’re looking forward to getting stuck in to the day to day operation of the business, with plans to refresh the local bus network, invest in the coach fleet and further develop Simonds’ presence in the tours, excursions and tourism market.”

Simonds of Botesdale and Vectare both have existing relationships with Suffolk County Council and Norfolk County Council; both local authorities are major clients and also strategic partners for the delivery of local bus services through Enhanced Partnerships. Niki Park, Head of Passenger Transport at Norfolk County Council said: “I’m thrilled to see Vectare taking over at Simonds and I look forward to working with them and seeing them continue the excellent service that Simonds have built up over the last 96 years. Vectare is already operating in Norfolk with our Flexibus+ service in Swaffham which continues to grow so I look forward to seeing them expand their operations across the county.”

Vectare will also benefit from the facilities at Simonds’ purpose build Diss depot, which boasts a 12-bay workshop, DVSA Authorised Testing Facility, parking and office, meeting and conferencing facilities. Simonds already makes these facilities available to other local businesses, and this important revenue stream is one that Vectare intends to further develop.

Former owner of Simonds Martyn Simonds said: “the opportunity to pass on my family’s legacy to Vectare is one I couldn’t pass up; they will bring energy, investment and enthusiasm and take the Simonds name forward into the future. I am delighted that they have chosen to work with the fantastic team here in Diss, who have served the business so well.”

Following this acquisition the Vectare Group stands at just shy of 200 vehicles across all owned subsidiaries, and the company says it has further expansion planned for later in the year. Peter Nathanail is clear that the businesses’ geographic focus on East Anglia and the East Midlands remains fixed, but says within these areas the business is keen to expand, both organically as new transport requirements arise and through further acquisitions. The overarching strategy remains, as it always has been, the continued development of a sustainable, independent provider of reliable passenger transport services, he adds, with an extensive network of bus services and a reputation for high quality delivery of contracted transport as well.