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Darwen Holdings is buying fellow bus maker Optare from its chairman.
Darwen chairman Roy Stanley owns Optare, which is being acquired from an enterprise value of £15.95m. This is being financed by a £16m (£14.97m) placing at 40p a share – against a market price of 43.5p which is down 3.5p on the day.
Optare has annual turnover of £58m and was acquired by Roy Stanley in January 2008. It also has an after sales services operation called Unitech.
Leeds-based Optare was effectively formed from the management buyout of a former Leyland bus factory in 1985. In 1990 it merged with two rivals but this business got into financial difficulties and there was another management buyout in 1993. Optare was acquired by North American Bus Industries in 2000 before another MBO in 2005. Stanley purchased the company at the beginning of 2008.
Stanley is keen to develop low-emission hybrid buses.
Traction Technology, which is about to cancel its Aim quotation, has been developing a hybrid bus with Optare. The development has been delayed and the acquisition process can’t have helped.
The enlarged group will be valued at £37.4m at the placing price. It is currently valued at £21.4m. Darwen Holdings intends to change its name to Optare.
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