Australian bus operator weighs rival bid for Go-Ahead

Australian transit operator Kelsian Group said it may bid for Go-Ahead Group after the British bus company agreed to a £647.7 million purchase from another Australian group, setting the stage for a bidding war.

Go-Ahead, which operates buses in the UK as well as Ireland and Singapore, supported the purchase of Kinetic Holding.

This prompted Kelsian to say today that he was also in talks with the company and could bid.

“If Kelsian makes an offer, it could bring its expertise in safety, operational efficiency, digital, decarbonisation and experience operating in the UK to enhance and accelerate Go-Ahead’s growth,” Kelsian said in a statement.

“Kelsian continues to carefully evaluate the opportunity,” he said.

Although Go-Ahead has said it would support Kinetic’s offer, Kelsian urged the company’s shareholders not to take any action.

Kelsian’s revelation raises the prospect of a bidding war spanning several continents, as transport operators bet on a rebound in Britain’s privatized bus sector, which has multi-year government contracts that do not necessarily depend on the number of passengers. passengers.

Kinetic, although based in Australia, is partially owned by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union of Canada.

Its bidding partner for the British company is the Spanish transport infrastructure investor Globalvia Inversiones.

Adding to the buying appeal, Go-Ahead’s shares have taken a hit in recent months, including a two-month suspension from listing on the London Stock Exchange, after the company acknowledged overcharging the Department of Transport of Great Britain by Railway Contracts.

Shares closed 12.4% higher on Monday, while Australian-listed shares of Kelsian fell 4.7% mid-session on Tuesday, in line with a broad market sell-off on fears of vertiginous inflation worldwide.

Fears have not stopped buying interest in the British bus sector. DWS Infrastructure agreed in March to acquire bus operator Stagecoach Group, beating National Express Group.

Earlier this month, UK bus and train operator FirstGroup rejected a takeover approach from private equity operator I Squared Capital.

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