Souter Investments, the family investment office of transport entrepreneur Sir Brian Souter, has taken a majority stake in OnniBus.com, the Finnish intercity express coach business.
The multi-million pound investment comes at an exciting time for OnniBus.com as it focuses on growing and developing its core business of intercity express coach travel.
Sir Brian Souter commented: “We are delighted to add OnniBus.com to our portfolio of global transport businesses. We believe there is a fantastic opportunity in the Finnish intercity express coach market and we see enormous potential in the OnniBus.com business as it seeks to establish a market-leading position.”
OnniBus.com will use the Souter funds to:
- Develop a new national network of express coach services
- Acquire a fleet of new, modern, high specification coaches
- Invest in its operational, web and customer service infrastructure
- Increase awareness of the refreshed OnniBus.com brand
- Restructure OnniBus.com’s existing services as part of the new network roll-out
Pekka Motto, Managing Director of OnniBus.com commented: “The investment represents a landmark for OnniBus.com. 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 first phase of OnniBus.com’s development will result in the creation of around 60 new jobs in Tampere and across Finland. Management, HQ and operational posts are currently being filled and driver recruitment will commence in the near future.
The investment has been made by Highland Global Transport, Souter Investments’ transport arm which owns a significant portfolio of investments in locations as diverse as the UK, New Zealand, Poland and Turkey. Souter has taken a majority stake and all existing shareholders and managers are staying with the business.
Highland Global Transport’s Global Transport Director, Roger Bowker, has joined the Board of OnniBus.com as Executive Chairman, having previously enjoyed a long international career with Stagecoach Group and as a co-founder and CEO of PolskiBus.com, the successful Polish intercity express coach operator.
Mr Bowker said: “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. 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.com product, expanding our network of services and developing our web and customer service proposition we can persuade people to leave their cars at home and choose more environmentally friendly, sustainable public transport. I am convinced that that, in time, our passengers will include everyone, from students to senior citizens and from leisure travellers to businesspeople and commuters.”
Tickets for OnniBus.com’s existing services can be booked at www.onnibus.com.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
OnniBus.com is a Finnish express intercity coach operator offering fast city to city travel at great value fares. The business was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Tampere. Tickets for existing services can be purchased atwww.onnibus.com.
About Souter Investments and Highland Global Transport
Souter Investments is the family investment office of Sir Brian Souter, co-founder and Chairman of Stagecoach Group plc. Souter Investments makes investments across a broad range of asset classes, with a primary focus on private equity; it also maintains allocations to other asset classes such as private equity funds, listed equities and property. Transport investments are made by Souter Investments’ sister company, Highland Global Transport.
Highland Global Transport has considerable experience in road, rail, water and air passenger transport and has also invested in the transport related services, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. Its team has experience of owning and operating businesses in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
Highland Global Transport’s investments in the transport sector include New Zealand based urban bus operators Mana Coach Services and Howick and Eastern Buses and ferry business Fullers Group; the Polish intercity express coach operator PolskiBus.com; leading international bus and coach manufacturer Alexander Dennis; and the Turkish ferry operator Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri.
Souter Investments other unquoted holdings include stakes in Virgin Mobile Latin America, a virtual mobile network operator; Baywater Healthcare, a healthcare services business operating in the UK and Ireland; legal firm Winn Solicitors; and Mobius Life, a specialist investment management company.
Recent exits include the sale of luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, the IPO of general insurer the esure Group on the London Stock Exchange and the sale of biofuel manufacturer Argent Energy to John Swire & Sons (Green Investments).
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