Mayflower and Henlys announce £460m merger

Mayflower and Henlys are poised to merge their bus and coach manufacturing operations to create TransBus International – the largest UK business in the sector with combined sales of more than £460m.

The move will bring together the Plaxton bus and coach body manufacturing business, with its parts, service and distribution services, and Mayflower’s UK and Asian bus and coach operations. These comprise the Dennis bus and coach chassis operation and the Walter Alexander body business.

The merged business will be Europe’s fourth largest coach manufacturer. Mayflower will own 70% of the new company.

The two companies said the merger would increase efficiency and bring with it opportunities for growth.

Henlys chief executive Robert Wood said: `We will now have the scale to compete more strongly in international markets, with Europe as a key target. We will also be able to take advantage of the opportunities available in a consolidating market.”

Five directors will oversee TransBus, three from Mayflower and two from Henlys. The new company will be chaired by John Fleming, joint managing director of Mayflower and the chairman of Mayflower Bus and Coach.

The merger, which is still subject to Office of Fair Trading approval, brought a somewhat mixed reaction from the City, with Mayflower shares falling 8% and Henlys’ rising 4% after the announcement.

News of the merger coincided with Mayflower’s year-end results, showing pre-tax profits up 15% to £30.2m on sales which rose just over £1m to £335m.

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