Bus firm Alexander Dennis in major Australian deal

Custom coach on the road in Sydney Sydney-based Custom Coaches has a 24% share of the Australian bus market

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Scottish bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis (ADL) has underlined its global ambitions by buying a major Australian coach producer in a multi-million pound deal.

ADL said it was taking 100% control of Sydney-based Custom Coaches.

The Australian firm employs more than 400 people at manufacturing sites in New South Wales and South Australia.

The deal comes a month after ADL announced a joint venture with a major North American transit bus producer.

Custom Coaches has annual sales of around £55m and a 24% share of the Australian bus market.

'Significant step'

ADL chief executive Colin Robertson described the Australian deal as "another significant step" in the Falkirk-based firm's strategy of diversifying and growing the business.

"It will see our group turnover increase to around £500m per annum - a three-fold multiple in just five years - and position us well to become a major player in the southern hemisphere," he said.

"The Custom brand is an icon in the Australian bus body market, having been part of the transport landscape for 50 years.

"It has history, heritage and a reputation for quality products and putting customers first."

He added: "These are the fundamentals of our business philosophy at ADL and we will build on them as we bid to turn a successful brand into a great Australian business."

Strategic alliance

In May, ADL announced it had formed a strategic alliance with New Flyer Industries Inc, a leading North American manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses.

The joint venture is designed to target the medium-duty, low-floor bus sector in North America and to transform the segment with a range of light-weight, fuel efficient products.

Welcoming the news from ADL, Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "Scotland is recognised internationally for its excellence in engineering and it is fantastic news that Alexander Dennis, one of Scotland's leading manufacturers, is establishing new operations in North America and Australia."

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