Following the recent acquisition of Victorian bus operator Ventura Bus Lines by Keppel Infrastructure Trust (KIP), the two parties have commented on what their shared future looks like.
Keppel acquired an approximate 98.6 per cent stake in Ventura for an enterprise value of $600 million.
As part of the deal, Ventura managing director Andrew Cornwall retains a minority stake in the business and remains as CEO.
Headquartered in Melbourne, the bus and charter coach service business has a fleet of approximately 900 buses across 12 depots.
Keppel CEO Kevin Neo says Ventura has a steady stream of government-contracted routes as well as a large charter side, servicing about 150 schools and providing services for tourism destinations.
“Ventura takes the pole position in Victoria for commuter bus services and has an excellent service and reliability record. Providing an essential service, Ventura is a good match for KIT’s portfolio as it generates stable, recurring and predictable cash flows,” Neo says.
“As the market leader, Ventura is well-placed to support the evolving public transportation needs of the fast-growing population of Melbourne, with a strong commitment to sustainability.
“We look forward to working closely with Andrew and the management team, who have built a successful bus service business.
“As the new owner, KIT will further the successes of the Ventura team as the business enters its next phase of growth, supporting the Victorian government’s drive for zero-emissions bus services.”
Cornwall says the acquisition is “an exciting new direction” for the family business that has been providing bus services for 100 years.
“We are happy to join KIT, which shares our customer-centric and service-first values,” Cornwall says.
“Our new journey with KIT will provide our executives, staff and stakeholders with confidence in aspiring to a new level of sustainability, in our growing community. I am delighted to continue my leadership role with the support of our new investors.”
After the acquisition, Keppel’s carbon emission intensity is expected to decrease by approximately eight per cent.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of the year, pending approval from the head of Transport for Victoria and the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board.