Bus firm looking at sale

Alexander Dennis ‘in talks’ over £200m Chinese takeover

Alexander DennisA Chinese company is believed to be in talks with Falkirk bus maker Alexander Dennis over a £200 million takeover.

Yutong, a Shanghai-listed company, is said to be in early stage talks with the firm which already has a manufacturing agreement with Chinese company BYD.

Last May the company played down speculation that it was up for sale with a price tag of £300m, following a report that Stagecoach tycoon and shareholder Sir Brian Souter was  talking to a number of banks, including HSBC.

The prospect of ownership of one of Scotland’s biggest manufacturers moving overseas is likely to prompt a storm of opposition.

Dennis was rescued 12 years ago by a consortium which included Sir Brian Souter and his sister Ann Gloag. The pair still control 55% of the business.

Sir Angus Grossart and Sir Ewan Brown are also involved through investment bank Noble Grossart.

The deal with BYD, worth an estimated £660 million over ten years, is to build 200 single deck low-emission buses a year with options to build double deckers, taking the value to about £2bn. It was signed during Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain.

It represented a huge boost for the Larbert-based firm which already makes electric vehicles and will capitalise on the tie up with the world’s biggest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries.

Founding chairman of BYD Wang Chuan-fu said: “Working with top industry partners such as ADL will enable us to speed up acceptance of our vision for fully-electrified public transport systems that can make a major contribution towards the clean air challenges facing cities around the world.

“ADL’s know-how and local market experience in the UK, combined with their global expertise in the double deck sector and our class-leading knowledge of electric technology, creates the perfect platform to jointly develop a range of cost effective, emission-free vehicles to suit every requirement.”

ADL chief executive Colin Robertson said: “This is the start of an exciting journey with enormous potential and we are delighted to be working with BYD.

“Their expertise in electric vehicle technology is second-to-none, while we have a global reputation for robust, reliable, high performance vehicles that deliver what they promise – and are backed by world-leading parts and service support, both in the UK and international markets.

BYD and ADL first indicated their intention to work together in July last year when the former confirmed it had won an order for 51 full electric single deck buses for Transport for London.

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