ADL bought by Canadian bus conglomerate31 May 2019

Paul Soubry (left) and Colin Robertson

Falkirk, Scotland-based bus and coach maker Alexander Dennis Ltd has been acquired by North American OEM New Flyer Industries (NFI) Group.

ADL chief executive Colin Robertson, who will remain in post, says that the two companies had discovered a shared culture during a 2012-2017 joint venture, MiDi, which produced buses for the North American market. (It ended with ADL setting up a US factory and taking over production). He said that although the numbers worked, it was not only a financial transaction. "This is a dream ticket for me," he said in a press conference on 29 May.

NFI president and CEO Paul Soubry said that ADL offers it expertise in double-deck buses, plus experience in bus electrification developed in London markets through Chinese driveline partner BYD. In addition, as some 90% of its business is based in the USA, and was attracted to ADL's international expansion. While NFI is vertically-integrated, ADL tends to source locally.

Soubry added that the transaction was unlikely to lead to North American buses being sold elsewhere, because its products are 'heavily spec'ced' with buy American supply contracts. He said that NFI was more interested in sharing technical projects, in areas such as propulsion, systems integration and telematics. The ADL brand will remain.

Robertson also said that the acquisition will not affect ADL's relationship with Volvo in producing Plaxton coaches.

It is not the first such transaction for NFI, which is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Having sold 20% of the business to Brazilian bodybuilder Marco Polo in 2013, it acquired North American bus brands Naby and Orion in 2013. NFI went on to buy the MCI brand of coaches in 2015. Current brands include New Flyer, ARBROC low-floor coaches, MCI and NFI Parts.

Soubry said that the deal came about after ADL shareholders announced their intentions to sell their holdings.

William Dalrymple

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