NBC sale is completed with London Country NE
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• The privatisation of National Bus Company subsidiaries has been completed ahead of schedule, according to transport minister David Mitchell.
He told MPs last week that he had approved the sale of the London Country Bus (North East) subsidiary to Parkdale Holdings and operator Alan Stephenson. The sale was likely to be completed before the end of April and would mark the end of the NBC bus operations sell-off.
"The substantial completion of privatisation well before the statutory deadline is a remarkable achievement," he said.
Mitchell was particularly pleased that the outcome had so clearly vindicated the Government's decision to sell them separately: 70 subsidiaries had been sold, 52 of them local bus operating companies.
About 40 had been bought by management or employee teams and many of the sales had included provision for employee share schemes or profit-sharing schemes.
Mitchell claimed that separate sales had also achieved their objective of increasing competition in the bus industry. "There are already numer ous examples of ex-NBC subsidiaries competing with each other to provide better services for bus passengers up and down the country," he said. The minister said that separate sales had also proved good for proceeds.
Individual sale prices had not been disclosed for commercial reasons, but he pledged to make a statement to the Commons as soon as practical on the total proceeds of the sale programme.
Mitchell paid tribute to the NBC chairman Rodney Lund.