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.
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.
“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.”