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December 05 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel was routeONE magazine’s Editor until autumn 2018. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Ashok Leyland increases stake in
Optare to 98% in loan swap

Leading Indian bus and truck manufacturer Ashok Leyland, a Hinduja Group Company, has increased its stake in its UK subsidiary Optare Plc by 23.20% to 98.31% by conversion of its existing loans into equity.

Ashok Leyland MD Vinod Dasari says: “Optare is well known for its innovative bus designs and this is a reaffirmation of our Group’s continuing commitment to making Optare a premier bus player in the U.K.

“In response to anticipated needs in the UK and overseas, Optare will be investing extensively in the next generation of all-electric buses, utilising higher density batteries and delivering much improved range. These are expected to be positioned by early 2018.”

Welcoming the decision Optare Chairman John Fickling said: “The move secures the financial stability of the company towards long-term growth.”

Optare’s President, Graham Belgum predicts a positive outlook for the UK based bus manufacturer next year despite challenges in the UK market: “The Metrodecker EV completed trials successfully with First York and First West Yorkshire recently, the first trials of a new fully electric double deck bus outside London. 

“We are also seeing significant developments in export with orders being secured in Australia and New Zealand, including a major contract for 114 Metrocity buses for a major operator in New Zealand and several tenders under consideration in the Middle East.”

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