Alexander Dennis to create Ontario plant

Chief executive Colin Robertson said deal reinforced reputation of the Enviro500 double-deck bus

Chief executive Colin Robertson said deal reinforced reputation of the Enviro500 double-deck bus

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Bus maker Alexander Dennis is to set up an assembly facility in Ontario after winning a deal to supply more than 250 vehicles to a Canadian transport firm.

Metrolinx also has the option to buy a further 150 buses from the Falkirk-based group, one of Scotland’s biggest manufacturing employers.

Dennis already has almost 125 double-deckers operating in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, and chief executive Colin Robertson said the order for new “ultra-low” vehicles was a “milestone” for the company.

“This initiative is the result of a seven-year relationship with Metrolinx that has gone from strength to strength,” he added. “It also reinforces the reputation and performance credentials of our Enviro500 high capacity, three-axle double deck range, which is proving to be a winner in continents around the world.”

The Metrolinx deal, understood to be worth £300 million, comes after the firm enjoyed a rise in turnover to £541.1m in 2013, up from £481.1m the previous year. Annual results, released in September, revealed sales in North America fell by 20 per cent to £41m, but the company said at that time that it was “very excited” about the prospects there in the medium-term.

Robert Davey, group commercial and business development director, said: “This latest order will see the double-deck establish itself as the backbone of the bus fleet in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area and provide the springboard for Alexander Dennis to expand further in Canada and the US.”

The group, whose investors include Stagecoach co-founder Sir Brian Souter, is supported by Bank of Scotland. Laurence Jamieson, relationship director at the lender, said: “[This] is an impressive Scottish success story and this latest announcement of the company further expanding its global footprint in Canada is testament to the strength of Scottish manufacturing industry.”

Establishing the bus chassis assembly facility in Ontario will create up to 30 full-time jobs. Work on the plant is expected to begin towards the middle of next year, with the first bus deliveries due by 2016.

Metrolinx president and chief executive Bruce McCuaig said: “We believe everyone should have access to fast, convenient and integrated transit.

“These buses represent the future of our bus fleet and set a new standard for the service we provide.

“Their lower floors will allow customers with limited mobility to board with ease, and their lower height will allow us to bring double-decker service to all of our routes.”

Alexander Dennis, the UK’s biggest bus manufacturer, employs 2,300 people world-wide. It has about 900 staff at its Falkirk base, with a further 1,100 at production facilities in Guildford and Scarborough. Earlier this year it won bumper deals with FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach.

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