Optare nearly halves losses as turnaround continues

BUS maker Optare has almost halved its losses and said it was confident of winning major contracts overseas as its turnaround continues.

Job cuts and site closures helped the Leeds-based group cut pre-tax losses to £7.4 million for the year to March, while sales grew 6 per cent to £75.9m, boosted by exports to South Africa.

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Optare, which counts Scottish transport giants FirstGroup and Stagecoach among its customers, is majority owned by Indian commercial vehicle group Ashok Leyland.

It attracted the attention of rival Alexander Dennis in 2011, but the Falkirk-based firm walked away after Ashok said it had no plans to sell its stake.