Gillingham-based Rainham Coach Company is the latest operator to be purchased by REL Capital. The deal closed on 24 October and takes to eight the number of coach businesses that have been purchased by REL, which is led by Andy Scott (pictured, below).
It represents a retirement sale by former owners the Graham family. Mr Scott describes the Medway business as profitable. The purchase, and others completed recently, follow a change by REL to focus on retirement acquisitions, rather than distressed businesses.
Rainham Coach Company holds a standard international O-Licence for 26 vehicles from two sites in Gillingham. It operates a number of contracts alongside private hire and tour work, and a fleet of vehicles extending from small PSVs to a Mercedes-Benz Tourismo.
Mr Scott says that two more coach operator purchases – in Essex and Hertfordshire – are “in the pipeline to be completed before the end of the year.”
He has long made clear that REL expects to grow its presence in the sector, and adds that it continues to solicit interest from business owners who may be considering retirement.
Rainham Coach Company will come under control of REL Redwing and its Director Thomas Maidman, who joined from G4S Patient Transport Services earlier in 2023. Says Mr Maidman: “We thank David Graham and his family for their hard work over the past 25 years and wish them well in the retirement. We look forward to welcoming the Rainham team to REL Redwing.”
REL has also invited drivers affected by the recent decision by National Express Transport Solutions to close its bases in Gillingham and Sydenham to make contact if they are seeking work.
Redwing was purchased by REL in 2022 and its fleet was quickly slimmed. However, Mr Scott said earlier in 2023 that the business had been turned around. In announcing the purchase of Rainham Coach Company, he has underlined the expectation that Redwing will return to around 60 coaches over the next two years, “both by acquisition and organically.”
It recently ordered a number of Volvo B8Rs with facelifted MCV Evotor bodywork for March 2024. They will be among the first of that combination for the UK.
To help to service REL’s further expansion plans in the coach industry, it recently agreed terms on a £4 million funding facility.
“With all of our investments in the coach sector now profitable, we are keen to continue our model of bolting new businesses onto our existing operators, while also speaking to larger operators for standalone opportunities. We welcome any opportunity to chat,” Mr Scott concludes.