Bus firm McGill’s sees profits accelerate

PROFITS at Greenock bus company McGill’s nearly doubled in 2014 as the company rebounded from investigations into its acquisition of services in Paisley and Renfrewshire.

Profits at McGills nearly doubled in 2014. Picture: Contributed

Owned by brothers Sandy and James Easdale – both former directors of Rangers FC – McGill’s came under scrutiny in 2012 following a deal to take over Arriva Scotland West. The £10 million transaction was cleared after an investigation by the Competition Commission.

Ralph Roberts, managing director of McGill’s, said the firm was subsequently freed up to invest in the business, with profits jumping by 84 per cent last year to a record £3.22m. Turnover was £35.3m, up from £33.8m in 2013.

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“The 2014 results achieved show that McGill’s are back on track to fulfilling their growth and profitability targets set some years ago,” Roberts said. “After a year of stifled activity in 2013, mainly a result of the costly Competition Commission investigation, these strong results are in line with forecast.”

McGill’s revealed that it pursued “a number of acquisitions” during the year, both within and outside the UK. However, none were completed.

“These were significant in size and would have more than doubled the size of the business,” the company said. “However, a large contract was taken on an emergency basis towards the end of the year which involved a new depot in Lanarkshire.”

Roberts said the company intends to continue its programme of re-investment, including the addition of a fifth operating base for additional services. Acquisitions remain on the agenda, as well as the addition of open-top tour buses.

“The profit achieved is in line with expectations of public transport companies of this size, but crucially, all has been re-invested, ensuring McGill’s customers feel the benefit of the business trading according to plan,” he added.