Kelsian Group weighs up options on Go-Ahead bid

A rival bidder in the race to buy Go-Ahead Group says it is still “assessing its options”, in the wake of an upbeat trading update by the bus and rail business.

Kelsian Group is considering whether to muscle in on Go-Ahead’s £650 million agreement to be bought by Australian bus operator Kinetic and Globalvia, and then be de-listed from the Stock Exchange.

Under Stock Market rules, Kelsian Group has until August 1 to either make a firm offer for Go-Ahead or walk away.

Also based in Australia, Kelsian is the country’s largest integrated land, marine, tourism and public transport provider. It also has operations in Singapore and runs buses in London through a joint venture with RATP Dev.

Originally a ferry operator, in November 2021 it rebranded from SeaLink to Kelsian (an anagram of its former name).

In a statement, it said: “Kelsian continues to carefully assess all its options in relation to the opportunity, and accordingly continues to urge Go-Ahead shareholders to take no action at this time.”

In a trading update, Go-Ahead said it had increased profit guidance for its regional bus division, which is now carrying 85% of pre-COVID passenger numbers.

“In certain parts of the UK, such as Manchester, our buses are as busy as they were before COVID-19. We expect a busy summer, particularly in tourist areas,” said Go-Ahead CEO Christian Schreyer.

Kinetic and Globalvia say there will be no reduction in Go-Ahead’s UK operations.

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