Ventura buys Grenda Transit - Volgren to sell separately

Melbourne bus operator Ventura Buslines has confirmed its acquisition of Grenda Transit

Ventura buys Grenda Transit - Volgren to sell separately
Ventura buys Grenda Transit – Volgren to sell separately

By David Goeldner | November 21, 2011

Ventura Buslines has almost doubled the size of its business with the acquisition of Grenda Corporation’s bus operations – Grenda Transit.

The deal is yet to be approved by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission and cleared by the Victorian Department of Transport, but will go ahead with an effective takeover date expected by February.

Brokered by Heritage Finance, the acquisition will see Ventura operating Grenda Transit’s 650 buses across routes which dominate eastern and south-eastern Melbourne through to Dandenong and down the Mornington Peninsula.

Acquiring Grenda Transit’s operation means Ventura will dominate Melbourne’s north-east, east and south east bus routes under contract with the Department of Transport, serviced by more than 1,000 buses.

Ventura Buslines Managing Director Andrew Cornwall says Grenda buses would not change to Ventura livery for at least two years, and there will be no job losses as a consequence of the takeover.

"There are two processes we need to undertake, to get ACCC approval and we need to get Department of Transport consent," Cornwall says.

"We are looking at getting through those processes early next year."

He says it will be business as usual after the sale is finalised early in 2012.

Grenda Transit’s General Manager Peter Ayres will be retained in his current role and join Ventura’s executive management team.

"We will take our time to work out the direction of the merged group," Cornwall says.

"We will continue the localised branding for at least two years, and we will place our corporate logo on vehicles where the ‘legals’ go – above the door on the nearside of each bus and below the driver."

Cornwall says it’s a ‘great outcome’ for Grenda staff.

"They know us and have seen what we deliver," he says.

"We are passionate about running buses and we are good at running bus services, so I think it’s a great outcome for the Grenda staff."

Cornwall says much of the hard work to ‘get across the line’ was due to bus broking specialist Heritage Corporation, led by the broker’s directors Michael Sewards and Adam Begg.

Sewards says his team was proud of being associated with the acquisition.

"The size of the transaction and vendor made it a unique transaction," he says.

"I am not aware of a transaction of this shape or size occurring in the Australian market before."

Sewards says he was also not made aware of which other business entities placed bids for Grenda Transit, although Ventura was not the sole bidder.

"We would love to know who they were, but we focussed ‘on the ball’ with our bid," he says.

With Ventura’s acquisition of Grenda Transit, Grenda Corporation’s bus assembly business Volgren is still up for sale.

Grenda Corporation Managing Director Scott Grenda indicated this week that there was more than one interested buyer for Volgren under consideration, and that a decision would be announced within a few weeks.

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