FirstGroup veterans target German market

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Former FirstGroup finance director Iain Lanaghan is planning to steer his latest venture on to the stock market next month as he searches for more deals in the German bus sector.

Lanaghan, who spent four years at the Aberdeen-based transport firm before leaving in 2004, is the co-founder and chairman of Metropolitan European Transport (MET), which is seeking to raise up to €50 million (£42m) through a flotation on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market.

Backed by private equity firm Marwyn Management Partners, MET has snapped up a number of German bus and coach operators since it was formed in 2011, building up a network of 380 vehicles. The firm expects to generate £26m in revenues this year.

Lanaghan’s fellow co-founder, MET chief executive David Leeder, is also a FirstGroup veteran. He left in 2008 following a seven-year stint in which he served as managing director of its UK bus arm before becoming international development director.

Guy Houston, MET’s finance director, resigned as finance chief of Transport Scotland in 2008 amid claims of a conflict of interest relating to shares he held in FirstGroup, after it emerged he had attended meetings about the extension of its ScotRail franchise.

Houston, who previously worked for Perth-based rival Stagecoach, was finance director of the Aberdeen group’s UK bus division between 2001 and 2005, and a report from members of the Scottish Parliament’s public audit committee, published in 2009, found “serious failures” within Transport Scotland over its handling of the matter.