THE Thurrock-based Ensign Bus Company is to be taken over by the First Bus group, it has been announced.
Ensign, which is based in Purfleet, runs many local services and has been one the country’s leading independent companies for many years.
The 55 vehicles in its blue-liveried fleet are a common sight across the borough, where its routes link local communities.
In addition to its commercial operations, Ensignbus has a vehicle refurbishment and re-sale business that purchases used vehicles and refurbishes to modern standards before re-selling.
This is included in the sale with First Bus saying: “This will benefit First Bus and the wider UK bus industry as the oldest, most polluting diesel buses are taken out of service. It is anticipated that the market for the resale of lower emission used diesel vehicles will continue to remain robust in the medium term, followed by the emergence of a similar market for the resale of zero emission vehicles.
The amount First has paid for Ensign has not been disclosed but Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, said: “The acquisition of Ensignbus, a long-established, high-performing business, will allow us not only to grow our B2B offering but to also enhance our operational footprint in Essex, and we look forward to welcoming Ensignbus employees to the Group.
“This is a strategically and financially accretive growth opportunity for us, and one that is fully aligned to our balanced capital allocation policy.”
Ensignbus Chairman Peter Newman, said: “I want to thank all of our employees at Ensignbus for their ongoing hard work to deliver great service for our passengers across all of our communities in Essex, and we will be supporting them fully as they move to their new employer.
“We’re pleased that First Bus, with their reputation for customer service, innovation and sustainability, will take the Ensignbus business forward as a going concern and we wish them a successful future.
“We will continue to serve our communities and operate our network as usual until the completion date.”