Camelon bus builder bought over by Canadian firm in £320 million deal

The Camelon-based manufacturer of the world’s biggest double-deckers has been bought over by North America’s largest bus and coach company.

By Jonathon Reilly
Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 6:41 pm

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) was acquired by Canadian firm NFI Group Inc for £320 million in a deal formally announced today.

The move will see the two companies “share best practice and technology development”, while ADL will retain its own brand as it seeks to support the international growth of NFI, which has more than 74,000 vehicles in service in Canada and the United States. ADL currently employs 2500 peopel and has north of 31,000 vehicles in service and operations from the UK and Ireland to Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Mexico.

Its acquisition by NFI creates an independent global bus and coach manufacturer with market-leading positions in the UK, North America and Hong Kong. Chief executive Colin Robertson, who has led the growth and internationalisation of the Camelon company for more than ten years, and chief financial officer, Michael Stewart, will continue their roles with ADL, which generated £631m in revenue in 2018.

Alexander Dennis Ltd chief executive Colin Robertson (right) and Paul Soubry, NFI president and CEO. Photograph: Mike Wilkinson

Last year ADL was chosen by operator Lothian Buses to create a 42-strong fleet of 100-seaters, the largest double-deckers in Britain, which were to enter into service in Edinburgh in January.

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Mr Robertson said: “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success we’ve had building Alexander Dennis over the past 15 years and I’m excited to have the ADL team join NFI — one great bus company joining another.

“We believe our consolidated businesses will enhance NFI’s market-leading position in North America, while improving NFI’s offering through combined engineering expertise, supplier partnerships, electric vehicle know-how and aftermarket platforms. 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.”

Paul Soubry, NFI president, said: “We’re thrilled to have ADL join the NFI family in a transaction that we believe will drive our business forward by combining joint strengths in engineering, sales, new product development and manufacturing with NFI’s expertise in operational excellence, insourcing, fabrication and systems management.”