Michael Sonego, Partner and Alex Pocock, Client Director at our Melbourne firm congratulates bus company Donric Group on the successful sale to family business Christian’s Bus company. The transaction is one of the largest in the industry in recent times and sees Donric contributing to the expansion of a 100-year old family business.
Concluded this week, the transaction is Australia’s second biggest bus industry M&A of the year, with a complex sale that split the assets of Donric Group to two buyers.
Pitcher Partners advised the shareholders of Donric Group throughout the $100m+ transaction that involved the split and sale of the 40-year-old group and its six long-established regional brands across Queensland and Victoria.
The business has grown from a small fleet of eight school buses to over 400 buses, 210 contracts and 16 depots in the two states.
Pitcher Partners Partner Michael Sonego said the sale was complex given a break-up of the business was chosen to optimise the outcome for the shareholders. Taxation advice surrounding the sale was provided by Partner Julian Cheng and Matthew Hall, Client Director.
One of the original shareholders has bought part of Donric Group’s Victorian operation covering the Calder Freeway as well as the Queensland operations, while the remainder of the business has been sold to Christian’s Bus Co, a Victorian based bus company.
Mr Sonego said the sale represented the second largest bus deal of the year, but he anticipated an increase in activity in the sector. “Throughout Australia over the past 12 months most bus contracts have come up for renewal, so most jurisdictions will now be on a fresh contract,” he said.
“Those contracts have many years to run which normally leads to increased activity with buyers having the confidence of known contract tenure and margin.
The transaction enabled the two exiting shareholders to realise their investment from a business in which they and their families were no longer actively involved in day to day management while enabling the remaining family to continue in the industry.
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