FirstGroup takes over Essex-based Ensign Bus Company Limited. The acquisition of the company is anticipated to be completed over the next few months subject to customary regulatory review.

The acquisition of the Ensignbus business is set to both enhance FirstGroup’s existing local commercial bus operations in Essex as well as providing a number of growth opportunities in the B2B and bus vehicle dealership markets.

In late 2022, First Bus has landed the largest order for electric buses in the UK so far, excluding the capital London, for a total of 193 ebuses to manufacturer Wrightbus, scheduled to hit the roads in March 2023.

FirstGroup takes over Ensign Bus Company

Ensignbus “is a high-performing business with strong offerings in regional commercial and business to business bus operations in Essex, as well as a well-established vehicle refurbishment and re-sale operation”, FirstGroup says. Ensignbus’ commercial bus operations comprise a local bus route network complementary to First Bus’ operations in Essex and two B2B segments that include rail replacement and private hire contract operations.

The business has a vehicle fleet of 55 buses that will be part of the sale, but the Ensignbus specialist heritage fleet is excluded from the transaction, it is pointed out.

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, said: “The acquisition of Ensignbus, a long-established, high-performing business, will allow us to not only grow our B2B offering, but to also enhance our operational footprint in Essex, and we look forward to welcoming Ensignbus employees to the Group. This is a strategically and financially accretive growth opportunity for us, and one that is fully aligned to our balanced capital allocation policy.”

Peter Newman, Ensignbus Chairman, said:“I want to thank all of our employees at Ensignbus for their ongoing hard work to deliver great service for our passengers across all of our communities in Essex, and we will be supporting them fully as they move to their new employer. We’re pleased that First Bus, with their reputation for customer service, innovation and sustainability, will take the Ensignbus business forward as a going concern and we wish them a successful future. We will continue to serve our communities and operate our network as usual until the completion date.”


Related articles