Alexander Dennis, the long-established Scottish bus builder and one of the country's largest manufacturers, has been acquired by Canadian firm NFI Group in a £320 million deal that will net Stagecoach co-founder Sir Brian Souter a bumper payout.
Headquartered in Falkirk, Alexander Dennis has a history that spans more than a century. NFI is described as North America’s "largest and most diversified bus manufacturer", employing more than 6,300 people across Canada and the US.
Colin Robertson, chief executive of Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), has been appointed to lead NFI’s international operations from Scotland.
He said: "This is an exciting day for our company and people. We can be proud of the transformation of our company from a traditional UK bus builder to a global leader with annual revenue in 2018 exceeding £630m.
"We look forward to becoming an important part of NFI while retaining our identity. This partnership is a complementary fit for both parties, allowing sharing of best practice and technology development, to form one of the largest independent bus and coach manufacturers in the world.
"NFI is a company we know well having engaged in a joint venture with them previously, and it was important to all of us at ADL that we were joining a team that shares our same culture and values, which are built around quality and excellent customer service, all driven by a passionate and committed team of people."
NFI's president and chief executive, Paul Soubry, added: "ADL is the UK’s number one bus manufacturer and the number one global producer of double-deck buses, with an established international presence and is recognised as a leader known for innovative products and a commitment to quality and service.
"We’re thrilled to have ADL join the NFI family and to be investing in such a great engineering and manufacturing success story, and a company we already know so well.
"ADL is an outstanding company with a strong track record and we look forward to working with the whole team to build more success on those solid foundations."
ADL was established in 2004 when a consortium of Scottish entrepreneurs led by Stagecoach co-founder Sir Brian Souter and including Dame Ann Gloag (Souter's sister), Sir Angus Grossart and Sir David Murray acquired the business from TransBus International’s administrators.
Souter, chairman of Souter Investments, said: "Having been involved with ADL since 2004, I have witnessed the transformation of the company into a truly international business with an exceptional product portfolio, a reputation for innovation and design and engineering excellence, and a first-class approach to customer service."
With Souter Investments holding around half of the business prior to the deal, the businessman stands to gain some £160m based on the sale price.
ADL employs some 2,500 people across its UK operations and supports a further 1,500 through subsidiaries and build partnerships globally.