First Group to be split and sold off.

Vehicle and Fleet discussions for First Midland Red Buses Limited or its predecessor, Midland Red West Limited.
DD12
Posts: 1075
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by DD12 » 21:15 Thursday 27th June 2019

The "nightmare prospect" is that Rotala / Diamond might want to acquire FMR more than NXWM and Stagecoach do !!

I cannot see Diamond persuading Worcestershire and Worcester City councils to take to the difficult steps that are necessary to "stop the rot" in bus provision.

Perhaps our best hope is that IF FMR gets sold, (sooner or later), the buyer will have to buy Leicester and Potteries as part of the deal, and that Rotala / Diamond will not be willing to pay the "asking price" !

:(

bringstybeast
Posts: 31
Joined: 18:17 Saturday 9th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by bringstybeast » 23:55 Thursday 27th June 2019

If Worcester were to be cherry picked for advance sale - then in practice it would be to either Rotala or Stagecoach. Although geographically close by, it's not a natural fit to bolt on to NXWM, and then even with Stagecoach - it's either a distant output of United Counties, or Cheltenham & Gloucester, so again wouldn't get the level of management attention required to make any improvement.

Ultimately all parts of First are for advance sale for the right price. I suspect the price on Worcester is higher than Rotala, or anyone else, are willing to pay at the moment, and that other parts of First are higher up the list for buying. Would be very surprised if anything were to happen here in the short term.

If the council is as unsupportive for buses as it's being made out to be and makes Worcester so unattractive to invest in and develop, why isn't speculation going down the route of Hereford - pull out completely, sell the depot for redevelopment, and leave Astons to pick up the pieces? That might be better value than what Rotala or Stagecoach are prepared to offer...

TimBrown
Posts: 566
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by TimBrown » 09:38 Saturday 29th June 2019

TimBrown wrote:
12:10 Wednesday 26th June 2019
Stagecoach and Virgin have been barred from making franchise bids on two counts.

a) Failure to run the East Coast franchise at a profit mainly because of over enthusiastic predictions of increase in passenger numbers which never materialised, leading to heavy losses and inability to pay £2 Billion in promised premiums - hence Government re-nationalisation.

b) Inability to accept pension responsibilities of franchisees they were already running.
I am only a retired bus driver, but have worked in other industries where employers do everything to wriggle out of the written pension contracts, so am suspicious of anything which smacks of employer pension contribution holidays and also the number of venture capital organisations which have been to permitted to takeover companies purely to rob out the pension funds to detriment of employees pensions - despite legislation it is still going on. This under a backdrop of the English State pension being 29th lowest in the world at 28% of National average wage.
Seems as though the railway workforce have seen the signs too. Hope the Government, employers and employees can come to an amicable agreement over staff pension contracts.

https://pensionsage.com/pa/Railways-uni ... action.php

bringstybeast
Posts: 31
Joined: 18:17 Saturday 9th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by bringstybeast » 18:51 Saturday 29th June 2019

TimBrown wrote:
09:38 Saturday 29th June 2019
TimBrown wrote:
12:10 Wednesday 26th June 2019
Stagecoach and Virgin have been barred from making franchise bids on two counts.

a) Failure to run the East Coast franchise at a profit mainly because of over enthusiastic predictions of increase in passenger numbers which never materialised, leading to heavy losses and inability to pay £2 Billion in promised premiums - hence Government re-nationalisation.

b) Inability to accept pension responsibilities of franchisees they were already running.
I am only a retired bus driver, but have worked in other industries where employers do everything to wriggle out of the written pension contracts, so am suspicious of anything which smacks of employer pension contribution holidays and also the number of venture capital organisations which have been to permitted to takeover companies purely to rob out the pension funds to detriment of employees pensions - despite legislation it is still going on. This under a backdrop of the English State pension being 29th lowest in the world at 28% of National average wage.
Seems as though the railway workforce have seen the signs too. Hope the Government, employers and employees can come to an amicable agreement over staff pension contracts.

https://pensionsage.com/pa/Railways-uni ... action.php
That’s what happens when you have a government pension scheme that the government doesn’t want to fund, and instead wants private companies to assume responsibility for historic deficits caused on the government’s watch (and previous franchisees post-privatisation). Since the private sector has made it clear it won’t bail out the black hole - the government either have to fill it (as really it is their problem), or try to reduce the benefits (which they can then blame on the greedy private sector...)

winston
Posts: 19
Joined: 23:38 Tuesday 27th June 2017

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by winston » 12:14 Sunday 30th June 2019

Local press speculation that NX Group are bidding to buy First Worcester, assume they will also be looking at other ops:

https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/17 ... operation/

DD12
Posts: 1075
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by DD12 » 12:18 Sunday 30th June 2019

There is no indication to me, that it is anything more than speculation and rumour.

winston
Posts: 19
Joined: 23:38 Tuesday 27th June 2017

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by winston » 12:27 Sunday 30th June 2019

DD12 wrote:
12:18 Sunday 30th June 2019
There is no indication to me, that it is anything more than speculation and rumour.
NX were involved in the early stages of bidding for First Manchester depots, but didn't proceed further on price / pension grounds.

ANDREW
Posts: 309
Joined: 00:38 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Bromsgrove.

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by ANDREW » 12:35 Sunday 30th June 2019

I would guess that "most" of the bigger groups show an initial interest in any potential acquisition. Although the quote from Nat Ex appears to be an impartial one. So I guess it is watch this space just in case. ;)

DD12
Posts: 1075
Joined: 19:49 Monday 4th July 2016

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by DD12 » 14:22 Sunday 30th June 2019

Thanks Andrew and Winston for those valid comments.

There are some older members of this forum who, I'm sure, (like me) would like to be part of ("MIDLAND RED") again !
-- that is Birmingham, the Black Country, Sutton, and Coventry -- "rejoined" by Worcester and Leicester !!
:)

TimBrown
Posts: 566
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: First Group to be split and sold off.

Post by TimBrown » 08:51 Wednesday 3rd July 2019

[/quote]

That’s what happens when you have a government pension scheme that the government doesn’t want to fund, and instead wants private companies to assume responsibility for historic deficits caused on the government’s watch (and previous franchisees post-privatisation). Since the private sector has made it clear it won’t bail out the black hole - the government either have to fill it (as really it is their problem), or try to reduce the benefits (which they can then blame on the greedy private sector...)
[/quote]

This article was published in the Business Section of The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday 2 July 2019 has a rather different slant to the vexed problems of pensions.
Pensions under fire 001.jpg
High time the the Government issued much stricter rules on pension funds and made the trustees legally responsible along with employers for ensuring employers contribute the full amount contracted into the funds. The very word Trustee seems to be a misnomer these days; in my simple mind any pension fund including agreed contributions by the employer belongs to the members of the fund and not the employer. I think the trustees have a bounden duty to see fair play on behalf of their members and prevent schemes being tampered with either by employer contribution holidays, Government nationalisation or takeovers by venture capital entrepreneurs.

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