First Announces Intention to Sell Bolton Depot and Operations to Rotala

First Announces Intention to Sell Bolton Depot and Operations to Rotala
A First Manchester Volvo B7RLE with Wright Eclipse Urban body in Bolton.Tom Harrison

First Manchester has today announced its intention to sell the Bolton bus depot and operations to Rotala PLC in the next few months, with more than 500 employees transferring to Rotala.

The intended sale would include the Bolton depot on Weston Street, with 18 bus services transferring across to Rotala. The sale is expected to complete in the next few months and more than 500 employees who work for the Bolton bus operation will transfer to Rotala. The total consideration for the acquisition is £5.3 million.

First Manchester will continue to operate existing local bus services from the Bolton site until the sale is completed and customers should see no changes to their daily journeys throughout this period of transition. First Manchester will focus its attention on the remaining bus services that primarily operate from the Oldham bus depot. Vantage services will also continue to be operated by First Manchester.

Following a review of its Manchester operations completed last year, First Bus took the decision to reduce exposure in Greater Manchester due to the current uncertainties in that particular market. Today’s news also follows the recent sale of First Manchester’s Queens Road depot.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said: “I’d like to thank our employees for their continued hard work to deliver the best experience possible for our customers in Greater Manchester. Today’s announcement does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of our Bolton employees and we will be supporting them fully as they transfer to their new employer.”

The acquisition will enable Rotala to strengthen its operations significantly in Greater Manchester. After London, Manchester represents one of the largest bus markets in the country, on a par with the West Midlands where Rotala already has a significant presence.

Rotala already has two smaller depots in Greater Manchester, in Eccles and Atherton, operating approximately 90 vehicles. It is expected that Bolton depot will become the headquarters of the Rotala Group in the North West and the existing operations of the group in the region will be re-organised to make full use of the facilities and capacity of the Bolton depot.

John Gunn, Chairman of Rotala, commented: “This acquisition represents an exciting opportunity to expand significantly Rotala’s presence in the Greater Manchester bus market. The deal is an indicator of how the UK bus landscape is beginning to change. We can expect more divestment by the big bus groups in future years. Rotala aims to be a major player in these market developments in years to come.”   

More information will be posted on The North West Bus Blog when we have it.

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  • Peter
    9th July 2019, 7:05 pm

    I wonder if current bus passes will no longer be valid in the Bolton area when the new operator takes over?

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