APT Coaches of Rayleigh has been purchased by REL Capital, which says that it has also agreed terms with two more operators to join its stable of coach businesses.
The APT Coaches name will be retained, but operations will be brought under the O-Licence and oversight of REL Davian, the Tottenham operator that was REL’s first foray into the coach sector. REL Davian Managing Director Matthew Watson is thus to gain responsibility for APT Coaches.
The Essex business operates home-to-school services alongside private hire and tours. Its acquisition by REL follows the purchase of Reg’s Coaches and South Mimms Travel earlier in 2023.
“We look forward to welcoming another long-established business to the group, and welcoming the APT drivers to our team and ensuring that the business goes from strength to strength over the coming months and years,” says Mr Watson.
The two other operators with which terms have been agreed are planned to work with Redwing Coaches, which was bought by REL early in 2022. A turnaround plan for Redwing was quickly put in place which REL Chairman Andy Scott said in May had left growth for that business in sight.
REL’s initial approach of acquiring distressed businesses has since changed to the pursuit of opportunities presented by retirement sales, he continues. Various options around purchase can be explored including 100% transfer or the seller retaining a share, the group adds.
REL is now seeing “large synergies” across the operators that it owns, which has involved them “working together to keep all fleets busy.”
Mr Scott says that the group wishes to speak to further coach operators that are considering retirement or existing the industry.
“It is easier to buy businesses where they are near to our existing operating centres, but if they are larger standalones then we are happy to look anywhere,” he tells routeone.
“I have two meetings in the North of England shortly and our head office is in Peterborough. Quality of the management team is key.”