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.”