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FirstGroup to sell Firstbus following loss of nearly £300 million in 2018

Despite “investing in buses and new technology, transforming networks, and making operations and maintenance more efficient” FirstGroup have announced plans to split from FirstBus.

FirstGroup to sell Firstbus following loss of nearly £300 million in 2018

Following the loss of £290.9 million in 2018, FirstGroup has announced that it plans to separate FirstBus from FirstGroup. The Group also operates Great Western Railways, Great Western Railway and TransPennine Express and Hull Trains

In a statement, FirstGroup said: “We have announced that we will be pursuing strategic options, through a sale or other means, to separate First Bus from FirstGroup.

“Please be assured that as this process unfolds, we will continue to operate our services as usual, working closely with our local authority partners and demonstrating our commitment to our customers through the service we offer them. As a result, First Bus is now on a much stronger footing, and we believe it is the right time to pursue structural alternatives so the business can continue to provide excellent service, ensure the best possible future for our staff and continue to meet stakeholders’ requirements.”

As a result, the group has announced it will focus on its U.S. projects, despite plans to sell the Greyhound coach line. In 2019, North America accounted for 60 per cent of operating profits at FirstGroup.

Matthew Gregory, Chief Executive, FirtstGroup, told the BBC: “We have decided the future emphasis of our business is going to be our North American contract business. That’s our First Student business – the yellow school bus that takes the kids to school – and the First Transit private transportation operator.

“We’ve identified that there are very limited hard synergies between our businesses, particularly between the UK and the U.S. and we think now is the time.

“We’ve put First Bus in a much better position. We’ve improved the customer offering, we’ve improved the margins and now is the time for us to look to separate that from the group.”

5 responses to “FirstGroup to sell Firstbus following loss of nearly £300 million in 2018”

  1. As a First Group shareholder and an ex First UK Bus employee with 48 years service I find this extraordinary that they are focusing their efforts on North America when there are big profits to be made in the UK if they operate trains and buses in a more fiscal and frugal manner. I understand there is a planned challenge to change several senior board members at a Special General Meeting and it is not before time as the present board has proved they are incapable of operating at a reasonable profit.

  2. Robert Hay says:

    The quicker this boardroom is removed from running this company into oblivion the better..UK first is should not be sold of in a fire sale this is the main profitable business.get out of the train network and pension liabilities for overpaid railway staff.why must the hard working first is employees be shafted by this ongoing incompetent management and their strategic planning that will destroy this company

  3. Kam says:

    I used to work for Firstgroup, it’s no surprise about this – Leadership is sloppy. Good Riddance

    • kj says:

      a lot of people worked for first.they treat the workers,shabibly.low pay,bad conditions,excessive driving hours.no wonder they cant get drivers.rather be pushing trolleys in supermarkets,rather than being treated worse by them.

  4. Peter J Clark says:

    I must admit that Local Management based at Southampton has been very lax. Originating from Southampton CityBus, I was part of Portsmouth CityBus and eventually being sold to Stagecoach (1989) and Portsmouth Transit (1990) and becoming part of First Bus amalgamating Gosport and Portsmouth operations, decisions seem to have got bad to worst. Services in Portsmouth have been drastically reduced and now with the First Group proposals to divest First Bus, it appears to be a question of deja vu 23 years on.

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