Norfolk Green sold to Stagecoach - Updated v2

It has today been announced that Stagecoach have acquired King's Lynn-based independant bus operator Norfolk Green.

Norfolk Green MX53FDD Norfolk Green 618 MX54WMJ
Update... Two of Norfolk Green's recently repainted Optare Solos 618 MX54 WMJ and 621 MX53 FDD seen at King's Lynn bus station earlier today. Although it is very sad to see a much loved independant operator sold it is good to know that - as mentioned in the press release below that although now owned by Stagecoach, the company will continue to be run as a separate unit. We are also told that the familier Norfolk Green brand will be retained, which is great news. We certainly look forward to continuing being a fan of the company as it enters a new era, and wish both the departing MD Ben Colson and new MD Andrew Dyer all the best for the future :-)

See below for a copy of the official press release published by Stagecoach this morning;

Stagecoach Group plc ("Stagecoach") is pleased to announce that Stagecoach Bus Holdings Ltd has completed the acquisition of Go West Travel Ltd, trading as Norfolk Green, an independent bus operator in the east of England.

Norfolk Green, which was last month named Independent Bus Operator of the Year, operates commercial, tendered and school bus services, employing more than 160 people.

The company operates around 70 buses and carries around 4.6million passengers a year on a network covering Norfolk, and parts of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The acquisition will complement Stagecoach's existing successful bus operations in the east of England, where it already operates around 360 buses and employs 950 staff.

The business has leased depot and bus station facilities in King's Lynn, as well as a number of small out-station facilities on short-term let arrangements.

Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: "Norfolk Green is an award-winning, high-quality bus operator. The business is well-run and has been successful in attracting more people to the benefits of bus travel

"The acquisition will allow us to expand our operations in the east of England, where we have achieved good passenger growth by focusing on good value fares, investing in our networks and delivering punctual and reliable services.

"Our people are central to our growth plans and we are delighted to welcome our new employees to the business."

Norfolk Green, which the present owners bought in 1996 with three coaches, has become available for purchase due to the retirement following ill health of main shareholder Ben Colson. The operation will be run separately, managed by Gary Nolan Regional Director North, Stagecoach UK Bus.

Ben Colson said: "We have built a strong brand in the area with a larger network of bus routes than was here in 1996, attracted new customers to using the bus and increased employment. The company goes forward into new hands in good shape, and will benefit from being owned by a major transport company."