Profits and turnover rise for Diamond bus owner Rotala

Bus and coach operator Rotala, which includes Diamond Bus, saw both turnover and profits rise in its latest financial year.

One of the new fleet of Diamond Buses in Dudley
One of the new fleet of Diamond Buses in Dudley

For the 12 months to the end of November the Tividale-based group enjoyed a 19 per cent rise in turnover to £62.4 million.

Pre-tax profits before exceptional items were up 18 per cent from £3.59m to £4.23m.

Rotala provides bus services under contract to local authorities and commercial bus routes. It also has operations at Heathrow Airport and in the North West and South West of England.

Chairman John Gunn said: "The company continues to make good progress and its results clearly show the benefit of the acquisition strategy which the board has pursued over the last three years. In that time we have made seven acquisitions."

In the first quarter of 2018 Rotala bought the Central Buses business in the West Midlands including a 31-strong vehicle fleet for £1.95m. The acquisition extended the Ggroup's network of bus services in the northern part of Birmingham, particularly in the Perry Barr area.

Revenue from contracted services rose by 16 per cent to £21.6m. and for commercial services wqs up 25 per cent to £38.9m, part fueled by the acquisitions made in the last two years in the West Midlands, including Hansons in 2017, and in Manchester.

Revenues in charter services fell by 31 per cent compared to the previous year to £1.9m.

Negotiations with Transport for West Midlands are continuing to expand bus alliances to further routes in 2019.

Since the year end Rotala has bought 20 new buses for its West Midlands operation. The average age of the fleet is now about 9.42 years, slightly better than the comparable figure of 9.5 years at the beginning of the year.

Mr Gunn said trading for the current year had been in line with expectations.

"The group possesses a strong and very experienced management team which has demonstrated over the last decade that it has the right strategy and the skills to implement it. We continue to be actively engaged in hunting out potential acquisitions and, with the backing of our new bankers, possess considerable firepower with which we can attain our objectives.

"In our assessment there will continue to be much divestment and acquisition activity in the bus market in the next few years. Government policy changes since 2010 and now the Bus Services Act are the primary causes of the demise of the stability which had subsisted in the bus industry for the generation that followed its de-nationalisation in the 1980s. Such change brings opportunity to youthful and dynamic businesses like Rotala and we think we are very well positioned to take full advantage of any eventualities.

"We are confident therefore about the prospects of the group and excited about the possibility of expanding it considerably in the years ahead," he added.

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