Management & Operations

First Group considers sale of North American transit, student subsidiaries

Posted on December 18, 2019

First Transit provides contractor services to several public transit and paratransit systems throughout North America.
First Transit
First Transit provides contractor services to several public transit and paratransit systems throughout North America.First Transit

First Group PLC said it is considering selling its North American public transportation and school bus companies, building on a plan first launched with the announced intention to sell Greyhound in May.

Since his appointment as Chairman four months ago, David Martin has been actively engaged across the entire portfolio, working with management and supported by independent advisors, to review the various strategic options.

FirstGroup, which is the parent company of First Transit, said in a release discussing its strategic update that after review of the company’s portfolio, the board of directors appointed advisors to “explore all options in respect of our North American contract businesses, First Student and First Transit, including a potential disposal.”

The company said that it is moving ahead with its sale of Greyhound, which it announced in May, and is creating an efficiency program for First Bus, its U.K.-based intercity bus service. It expects to see the results of that strategy in the numbers for the second half of 2019 and afterward. As a result, the company’s board of directors concluded that “greater value will be achieved by delivering this margin enhancement prior to any launch of a formal sale process.”

“We have taken a number of important steps that will enable a rationalization of the Group’s portfolio,” said Chief Executive Matthew Gregory. “Today’s announcement to formally explore all options to maximize value from our North American businesses reflects the resolute focus of the entire Board on realizing value for all shareholders.’

In the meantime, First Group said it will continue to focus on the individual plans for each of its businesses, ensuring that customer commitment and investments, as well as growth and margin improvement plans, are delivered.

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