All clear for SBG sale
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IN The Transport (Scotland) Bill has received royal assent, allowing the privatisation of the 11 Scottish Bus Group companies to go ahead on its predicted timetable.
SBG company managers can now formalise plans to mount management/employee bids for their companies.
Several companies have expressed an interest in buying SBG subsidiaries, including former NBC companies and Scottish-based Stagecoach.
The 11 units for sale are the nine territorial bus companies, the group's express coach company Scottish Citylink, and the heavy engineering subsidiary, SBG Engineering. Sales should start late this year.
The management of Midland Scottish Omnibuses, the Scottish Bus Group subsidiary company serving Central Region, will be leading a bid to buy the company when it comes on the market.
Midland Scottish managing director Jim Begg will lead a team of nine senior managers who will contribute 32% of the total issued share capital. It is hoped that a further 23% will be raised from other Midland employees, many of whom are already contributing to a company savings scheme. Midland will set up an ESOP (Employee Share Ownership Plan) which will hold another 23%. About 22% will be held by an outside financial institution.
Begg says: "We have set a minimum subscription of .2200 for each employee as we want as many of our staff as possible to become shareholders."
Local Transport and General Workers' Union shop steward Peter Whyte is supporting the management/employee bid, and is encouraging all staff to take an active part in the buy-out. "We must work together and not pull in different directions — for all our sakes," he says.
Whyte is a member of the liaison committee recently formed with equal representation from all sections of the Midland workforce.
Midland Scottish has appointed consultant company Grant Thornton, which was involved in a number of successful buy-out bids for NBC subsidiaries in England, as its financial adviser.
The nine senior managers leading the buyout bid are: Jim Begg, managing director; Jasper Pettie, finance director; Dilys Leckie, operations manager; Terry Thomson, chief engineer; Alex Lees, assistant chief engineer; Bill Meechan, traffic officer; Brian Peat, marketing officer; Tom Mathieson, accountant, and Lindsay Young, computer manager.
Midland Scottish Omnibuses, based in Larbert, operates express services to Edinburgh and Glasgow, with a fleet of coaches for charter work. The company has depots at Alloa, Balfron, Bannockburn, Larbert, Linlithgow and Oban, employs 840 staff and operates 280 buses and coaches.
0 A management team hoping to buy Western Scottish has been given preferred internal bidder status over a rival employee-led bid.
Under the terms of the Scottish Transport Bill, only one internal buy-out scheme can receive financial support to cover professional fees and other costs involved in the preparation of the bid.