Devon bought out
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• Minibus pioneer Devon General, has become the first local bus subsidiary of the National Bus Company to be sold under the NBC privatisation programme set in motion by the Transport Act 1985. Its buyers are the present management team led by managing director Harry Blundred and four of his senior staff (see page 18).
The newly-independent company has taken immediate control of the 4000-vehicle fleet which was the first to include high frequency urban minibus services in Britain with the now famous and much copied Exeter scheme.
The Devon General fleet now includes over 200 Ford Transit minibuses operating in and around Exeter and Torbay. It employs over 1,000 staff and also runs coach services under the old established Greensbdes name. Greenslades also shares in the National Express network with coaches running to London, Bristol, Birmingham and Yorkshire.
Neither the National Bus Company nor the management have revealed how much was paid for the company, although it is known to run into several millions of pounds.
The buy-out, which was the only hid received for the company, has been welcomed by both NBC and the Government.
According to NBC chairman Rodney Lund, Devon General's management team "has taken a highly professional and progressive approach to developing the business and I was happy to recommend to the Secretary of State that their offer be accepted. I'm sure that Devon General's achievement will give added encouragement to the managers of our other subsidiaries to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of owning their own business."
Management buy-out offers have also been received for several other NBC local companies, alongside bids from outside parties, and further sales are expected to be announced shortly.