National Express buys Petermann bus group for £126m

Transport group National Express said it had acquired US student bus company Petermann Partners for $200m (£126m) from Macquarie Global Opportunities to help grow its business in the United States and Canada.

National Expressy said it expected to complete the deal in the fourth quarter of 2011, subject to regulatory approvals, and that the acquisition would likely be immediately earnings accretive.

"It's a great strategic fit for our existing (US) school bus business, complementing our current operations, introducing us to new states and giving us a foothold in the paratransit market," National Express Chief Executive Dean Finch said in a statement. "This is an important step in delivering our strategy of growth in North America."

Petermann, which is the fifth largest provider of student transportation in the US with 3,351 vehicles in its fleet, is the market leader in its home state of Ohio and has further operations across 10 states in the Midwest, West, and Southwest of the US.

The transport group in July said it was bullish on margin growth after reporting a 26 per cent rise in first-half underlying profit.