Daf plans to take Optare
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
• Optare is poised to become part of the Daf empire, following an offer, believed to be in the region of £5m, which would put Optare in charge of the UK operations of United Bus.
The proposed takeover builds on the agreement signed in 1988 over the Optare-bodied Delta. It would combine Optare's sales and manufactur ing interests with the bus interests of Daf Bus and the former MCW Metrorider and Metrobus.
If the plan goes ahead Optare boss Russell Richardson will become UK chief executive of United Bus and will report to Wolf Lijmer, United Bus's chief executive. The takeover would give United Bus a 6% market share in Western Europe with a turnover of Dfl 420m.
Richardson says he is "very optimistic" that the deal will go through, probably by the end of this week. He feels that Optare complements Daf very well: "We fit in with their European standards and as far as I can see, we're the only UK company who are exporting to Europe. We offer more in terms of product innovation and quality."
Plans for a combined Optare/ United Bus operation include the launch of the "reengineered and updated" double-deck Metrobus which, says Richardson, will have both chassis and bodywork built in Leeds. Originally the chassis was to have been sourced in Eindhoven. The first vehicles are expected to appear at the end of this year.
Optare was formerly a Leyland bus company. It was
bought out by its workers, led by Richardson, in 1985, and in four years boosted its turnover to £12m. If successful, Daf will follow up the Optare purchase with further acquisitions of PSV builders this year; Daf and Bova declared their intention to expand aggressively when United Bus was set up at the end of last year (CM 30 November-6 December 1989).
Optare is looking for buyers for the 25-seat version of the Metrorider which is now out on demonstration. The short-wheelbase model has the same major components as the larger Metrorider, but features disc brakes all round.