Sir Brian Souter is clearly aiming to replicate the success of his PolskiBus business with the purchase of a majority stake in Finland’s OnniBus

Souter Investments, the private investment vehicle of Stagecoach co-founder and chairman Sir Brian Souter, has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in OnniBus, an express coach firm operating in Finland.

The deal has been structured through Highland Global Transport, a business that was incorporated in 2012 to manage the transport operations of Souter Investments and the significant stakes in Stagecoach held by both Souter and his sister and fellow group co-founder Ann Gloag.

The Finnish business was founded in 2012 and is based in the city of Tampere. It presently operates several routes in the south of the country from hubs in Helsinki and Tampere.

Souter Investments says that the purchase of the business will allow the company to expand its network of express coach services and acquire additional vehicles. Meanwhile, it is also planning  investments in improvements to its operational, web and customer service infrastructure and refresh the OnniBus brand. The existing network will also be restructured to take into account the planned expansion of the business. The first phase of this will see 60 new jobs created by OnniBus.

Commenting on the purchase, Souter said that he believed that there was a fantastic opportunity in the Finnish intercity coach market and that there was enormous potential for OnniBus to establish a market-leading position there.

“The investment represents a landmark for OnniBus,” added OnniBus managing director Pekka Motto. “It will provide not only the support of a strong balance sheet and access to substantial funds for growth, but also access to Souter’s invaluable experience, knowledge and expertise in the public transport industry.”

The purchase is also being supported by the appointment of Roger Bowker to the board of OnniBus as executive chairman, who most recently assisted Souter Investments with the creation of its now extremely successful PolskiBus low cost intercity coach operation in Poland three years ago.

“Our experience in the UK, USA, Canada and Poland has demonstrated that there is a demand for fast, modern and innovative intercity express coach travel,” commented Bowker.

“With the introduction of new products and services, offering the consumer more choice, we can grow the total public transport market.

“We believe that by investing in the OnniBus product, expanding our network of services and developing our web and customer service proposition we can persuade people to leave their cars at home.”

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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