SBG sale rules prepared
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• The Scottish Bus Group privatisation process is now under way.
The Scottish Development Department has published the ground rules for the SBG sale, which is not expected to be completed until well into 1991. Ten companies will be offered for sale; but the SBG Engineering company is to close in March.
Nine of the 10 companies are territorial operating subsidiaries; Eastern, Fife, Highland, Kelvin Central, Lowland, Midland, Northern, Strathtay and Western. The other company to be sold is Scottish Citylink, the SBG's express coaching arm.
In the two years since the Government decided to break up SBG, the Group has merged four of its companies in the Strathclyde area to produce two larger units, as a preparation for privatisation. Management/employee buyout packages have been set up in most SBG companies, though interest from other bus operators is known to be strong. "We're interested in all the companies coming up for sale and will be carrying out purchase investigations on them," says Stagecoach boss Brian Souter. Caldaire Holdings is also "keenly interested", says chairman Ken Hodgson. Other interested parties are believed to include Drawlane and the English consortium, South East Bus Investments Limited (SEBIL).
The first company to be offered for sale is likely to be Lowland Scottish, probably followed by Scottish Citylink. The companies that were involved in mergers last year are likely to be among the last to be placed on the market.