Camelon bus builder buys major Aussie rival

Colin Robertson and John Swinney
Colin Robertson and John Swinney
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Bus builders Alexander Dennis Limited has bought a rival in Australia.

The multi-million pound deal gives the Camelon-based business complete control of Custom Coaches which employs 400 people at factories in Sydney, New South Wales and Adelaide and has a 24 per cent share of the bus market ‘Down Under’.

ADL is already Britain’s biggest bus and coach manufacturer supporting 900 jobs at its Camelon works and around 1100 more at manufacturing sites in Yorkshire and Surrey.

Chief executive Colin Robertson said: “This is another significant step in our strategy to diversify and grow the business. It will see our group turnover increase to around £500 million a year – a three fold rise in just five years – and position us to become a major player in the southern hemisphere as we bid to turn a successful brand into a great Australian business.”

The news comes just weeks after ADL agreed a joint venture with New Flyer Industries in North America to design and build a new breed of lightweight fuel efficient midi bus for the USA and Canada based on its market leading Enviro200 range.

Prototypes are already in production with the first models, which will eventually be available with alternative propulsion systems – clean diesel, electric-hybrid or compressed natural gas – expected to be launched next year.

Mr Robertson said: “Our midi bus is a world beater leading the field in markets as far apart as the UK and New Zealand.

“We have already sold 16,000 of them around the world and there is growing demand for around 1000 a year to meet the needs of North American operators where the transport landscape is ready for change.”

John Swinney, Scottish Government secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth, said: “Scotland is recognised internationally for its excellence in engineering and it’s fantastic news one of its leading manufacturers is establishing new operations in North America and Australia.

“It is welcome news that, despite the economic climate, an indigenous company like ADL has continued to grow and capitalise on new opportunities overseas. Investment decisions of this type position ADL as a global leader in the world of manufacturing.”