Scottish transport giant swoops for English bus firm

FirstGroup reaches agreement to acquire Essex-based bus company <i>(Image: FirstGroup)</i>
FirstGroup reaches agreement to acquire Essex-based bus company (Image: FirstGroup)

FirstGroup has confirmed it has signed an agreement to purchase an Essex-based bus company.

The acquisition of Ensign Bus Company Limited is anticipated to be completed over the next few months subject to customary regulatory review, the transport operator said.

Ensignbus’ commercial bus operations comprise a local bus route network, served by a young vehicle fleet of 55 buses.

The fleet will be part of the sale, although the Ensignbus specialist heritage fleet is excluded from the transaction.

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FirstGroup said the acquisition of the business will both enhance its existing local commercial bus operations in Essex as well as provide a number of growth opportunities in the B2B and bus vehicle dealership markets.

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, said: “The acquisition of Ensignbus, a long-established, high-performing business, will allow us to not only grow our B2B offering, but to also enhance our operational footprint in Essex, and we look forward to welcoming Ensignbus employees to the Group. This is a strategically and financially accretive growth opportunity for us, and one that is fully aligned to our balanced capital allocation policy.”

Peter Newman, Ensignbus Chairman, said:“I want to thank all of our employees at Ensignbus for their ongoing hard work to deliver great service for our passengers across all of our communities in Essex, and we will be supporting them fully as they move to their new employer.

“We’re pleased that First Bus, with their reputation for customer service, innovation and sustainability, will take the Ensignbus business forward as a going concern and we wish them a successful future. We will continue to serve our communities and operate our network as usual until the completion date.”