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Crown Coaches confirms sale exploration to ensure future growth

Despite expecting to record $29 million in revenue this year, Crown Coaches is looking at a potential sale to an owner that can help increase the operator’s electrification capabilities

Pioneering and popular Australian bus and coach operator Crown Coaches has confirmed with ABC that it’s exploring strategic options to ensure the future growth and sustainability of its business.

This includes the potential of welcoming a new owner to the helm of the Victorian operator that has been a constant presence on roads for 57 years.

Following a recent article in the Australian Financial Review hinting at Crown Coaches’ potential sale, the operator confirmed it is looking to build on its long-standing legacy and commitment to innovation and excellence in the sector.

“After considerable reflection, the Haoust family has decided to explore the possibility of selling Crown Coaches,” Crown Coaches director Renee Haoust told ABC.

“This decision is not made lightly, but with a firm belief that it is the right path forward for the company, our employees and our clients.”

The exploration of a sale comes at a time when Crown Coaches has identified the need for additional resources to continue its industry-leading initiatives, especially when it comes to pushing towards electrification and sustainable transport solutions.

The long-standing family business was founded by Victor and Julie Haoust in 1967 and has been operating for almost 60 years throughout south-east Melbourne.

Haoust says the company believes that a new owner could provide the necessary capital and strategic support to elevate the company’s growth and ensure its continued success.

Crown Coaches has been a leader in sustainability, introducing one of Victoria’s first 100 per cent electric buses in 2009 and investing heavily in electric fleet infrastructure through a partnership with Hitachi.

The operator still plans to have the capacity to charge 40 electric buses by 2026.

While Crown Coaches is at the beginning of this exploratory process, it remains committed to transparency with its employees, clients and partners.

Crown Coaches has a fleet of 157 buses, including providing critical transport services for students with disabilities under the Victorian Department of Education’s ‘Students with Disabilities Transport Program’.

Operating out of three depots in south-eastern suburbs like Nunawading and Dandenong South, 80 per cent of the operator’s revenue is under contract, with the business expecting to achieve $29 million in revenue and $4.3 million in EBITDA in 2024.

Another Crown Coaches director, Jerome Haoust, says the company reassures that it remains business as usual, with no immediate changes to its operations, services or commitments to stakeholders slated.

“We understand the significance of this decision and are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition that respects the interests of all parties involved,” he told ABC.

“We will keep our stakeholders informed and engaged as we move forward with this process.”

The Haoust family and the Crown Coaches management team say they’re optimistic about the opportunities the process will unveil for the company, its employees and its clients.

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