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Stagecoach buys Yorkshire Traction Group

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STAGECOACH has taken over the Yorkshire Traction Group in a deal worth £26million. Stagecoach also assumes the group’s net debt of £11million. The Traction Group, with 840 vehicles, was Britain’s sixth-largest bus group and the biggest one to be privately-owned.

As well as its operations in South Yorkshire, the group owned RoadCar in Lincolnshire and Strathtay Scottish.

In an interview in Bus and Coach Professional last month, Traction Group chairman Frank Carter indicated that he was planning to retire soon.

For the year to December 2004 the Traction group reported turnover of £56.6million, operating profit of £2.5million and gross assets of £50.5million. Stagecoach has paid with £21.5million in cash and the issue of 4,022,070 Stagecoach ordinary shares of 12/19th pence each. Stagecoach has assumed Traction’s net debt of approximately £11million. The consolidated net debt of Stagecoach will therefore increase by approximately £32.5million as a result of the acquisition.

Traction’s Strathtay operations border those of Stagecoach in Perth, while its Yorkshire businesses are neighboured by those of Stagecoach East Midland.

Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter says: “The acquisition of Traction is consistent with our strategy for growth in our core UK and North American markets, and follows the acquisition of Glenvale Transport earlier this year.

“Traction is the largest of the remaining privately-owned UK bus operators. We are excited by the prospects of acquiring Traction and believe we can add value through innovation, investment and by applying Stagecoach’s operational expertise.”

www.stagecoachgroup.com

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