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Bus-making family businesses merge operations

By Rashmi Kumar

The family behind Australian bus maker Volgren has sold its majority stake to Brazilian family business Marcopolo as the Melbourne-based group looks to grow beyond its current markets.

Volgren, which is the largest bus builder in Australia in terms of market share, is a fully owned subsidiary of Grenda Corporation, controlled by the Grenda family. After the sale is completed, the family is expected to retain a minority 25% holding in Volgren, said a statement.

The move comes as Grenda, headed by third-generation Geoff Grenda, looks to expand its operations internationally by “being a part of a very large group with large-scale manufacturing know-how and capability”. Volgren currently operates only in Australia.

The decision to link with another family firm is Grenda’s way of associating itself with a company that “shares our philosophy around people”, said Geoff in the release.

Marcopolo, although listed on the Brazilian stock exchange, is still controlled by the founding Bellini family. With operations in 11 locations worldwide, the Caxias do Sul-based business is one of the world’s largest makers of buses – it manufactures around 30,000 buses every year and has revenues of €1.22 billion. Paul Bellini is currently chairman of the company.

Grenda was founded in 1945 by George Grenda and had sales of around €160 million in fiscal 2011.

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