Burges Salmon advises FirstGroup on e-buses20 February 2024

Burges Salmon FirstGroup electric buses

Burges Salmon has advised FirstGroup on two connected projects relating to the deployment of up to 1,000 electric buses with a combined value of approximately £200 million.

The transactions are part of FirstGroup’s ambitions of becoming a net-zero business by 2050 and decarbonising its bus fleet by 2035.

In November 2023, FirstGroup partnered with Hitachi in a joint venture (JV) called NextGen focussing on the acquisition, deployment and management of the batteries to be used within the electric vehicle (EV) buses. The JV involves the purchase of up to 1,000 EV batteries by NextGen and onward leasing to FirstGroup’s operating bus division, with Hitachi providing battery and charging management services.

Burges Salmon has now also advised FirstGroup on the funding of the residual electric bus bodies powered by the batteries leased via the NextGen arrangements. The transaction, structured as an up to £150million hire-purchase funding arrangement with Lloyds, NatWest and Bank of America and documented as a green loan, centres on the acquisition and operation of the buses after the sale and leaseback of the batteries to and from NextGen.

Rupert Weston (pictured) said: “Combining sector expertise and cross-disciplinary capabilities, we’re committed to supporting our clients on their transition to a sustainable future and it has been a pleasure working with FirstGroup on this innovative and progressive partnership. This is a great example of the transport and technology sectors working as a collective to drive the Net Zero agenda and support the decarbonisation of vital infrastructure.”

Transport Engineer

Related Companies
Burges Salmon Llp
FirstGroup plc

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