Firms help sell bus business for $110m

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Two firms were involved in the sale of Sydney’s oldest family-owned bus and coach operator.

Lander & Rogers advised ComfortDelGro Corp (CDC), which bought Forest Coach Lines (FCL) for $110m. Ashurst advised David Royle Bus Holdings, which owned a minority stake in the company. The purchase was made via wholly owned subsidiary ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia.

Perth-based corporate partner Stuart James led the Ashurst team. Employment partners Trent Sebbens in Sydney and Rob Lilburne in Perth, as well as finance partner Gaelan Cooney in Perth, also provided expert advice.

“We were very pleased to again work with entities associated with David Royle on the disposal of Forest Coach Lines. The disposal to a multi-national like CDC was the natural next step for the business, and is another example of a joint venture between private equity and management delivering a successful outcome,” James said.

Private equity firm Next Capital purchased a majority stake in FCL in 2014. The sale transaction marks the end of the Royle family’s association with the business, which was established by Trevor and Eric Royle in 1930.

Singapore-listed CDC entered the Australian market in 2005. It operates a fleet of about 3,500 buses, coaches, taxis, and ambulances in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.

The conglomerate has more than 42,700 vehicles spread across operations in Australia, China, Ireland, Malaysia, the UK, and Vietnam. CDC operates bus and rail, taxi, automotive engineering, inspection and testing, driving centre, car rental, insurance broking, and outdoor advertising businesses.


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