Optare saved by rescue deal with Indian giant

BUS manufacturer Optare secured its future yesterday after shareholders backed a rescue deal with India’s Ashok Leyland.

Optare, based in the north of England, warned recently it was unlikely to continue trading without the tie-up with Ashok, owned by the Hinduja Group, which will treble its stake to 75 per cent under a share placing that will provide Optare with access to a £12 million credit line.

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The deal had looked in danger over Christmas after Falkirk-based rival Alexander Dennis requested information on a potential takeover.

However, it walked away after Ashok said it had no intention of selling its shares in Optare to “anyone at any price”.

Optare chief executive Jim Sumner said yesterday: “This is a real vote of confidence in both Optare and Ashok. This deal is in the best interests of the business long term and secures its future within one of the world’s top five bus makers.”