Stagecoach agrees to buy a second Greater Manchester bus outfit

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Stagecoach yesterday agreed to buy a bus business in north Manchester for £2 million, its second acquisition in the north-west of England in as many weeks.

The Perth-based transport group said that all 80 staff from Bluebird will transfer across to its Manchester operations, which already employ about 1,850 people following last week’s £12m takeover of FirstGroup’s Wigan operations.

In the 12 months to 31 January, Bluebird turned over £4m and posted an operating profit of about £330,000.

The deal includes a leased depot at Greengate in Middleton, as well as about 40 vehicles, swelling its fleet in the area to about 670 buses.

Les Warneford, managing director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This is a good fit with our existing successful bus network in Greater Manchester.

“We believe there is scope to develop the business and attract more customers to bus travel through our good value fares and high quality of service.”

The deal is subject to approval from the Office of Fair Trading.

Under last week’s deal, Sir Brian Souter’s firm bought 120 vehicles, a bus depot and some leased premises in Wigan bus station.