Burgess buys back Custom Coaches

By: Amie Hickland

Custom Coaches has been sold to a consortium led by Mark Burgess after voluntary administration

Burgess buys back Custom Coaches
Custom Coaches has been sold to a consortium including former owner Mark Burgess

Custom Coaches has been sold this month to a consortium led by former owner Mark Burgess and will continue to operate from New South Wales and South Australia.

Burgess and Allegro Funds are investing in the business as separate entities, but come under the consortium Custom Bus Australia Pty Ltd.

Under the new ownership, the business will operate from its existing Sydney manufacturing base at Villawood.

Custom Care and the aftermarket business will also be maintained in Adelaide and more than 120 current employees are being offered ongoing employment by the new owner.

It is expected creditors will receive some sort of return on their investments.

Deloitte Restructuring Services Partners Vaughan Strawbridge and Tim Norman were appointed Voluntary Administrators of Custom Coaches Pty Ltd and Custom Coaches (Sales) Pty Ltd in May.

Strawbridge says the sale is a great outcome for vehicle manufacturing in NSW.

"During the administration, we have created a leaner, more efficient business and, importantly, been able to secure the jobs of a large number of employees," he says.

"Many of the employees have been with the company for more than 20 years, and I am particularly pleased for them that so many jobs will be retained."

The Administrators will report to creditors on an expected return as a result of the sale of the business and other recoveries at the second meeting before October 7, according to a spokesperson for Deloitte.

Burgess says the sale is a great step forward for Custom, which transitions to stable Australian ownership with no debt, strong cash reserves and a highly experienced management team.

"We look forward to a bright future with our customers, suppliers and staff."

Allegro Funds Founding Partner Adrian Loader has been appointed Chairman of Custom Bus Australia.

Loader says the company sees tremendous potential in Custom and he is pleased the consortium was able to transact quickly in the distressed situation.

"Custom has a long and proud history in the bus industry, great staff and strong customer and supplier networks," he says.

"It now has the benefit of stable financial backing and focused management.

"We look forward to supporting this new and successful phase for the business."

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