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Transport tycoon's family office buys into bus business

By Jessica Tasman-Jones

Brian Souter, the entrepreneur behind British transport group Stagecoach, is using his family office to stick with what he knows – by investing in a Finnish coach business.

Souter Investments, the Scotland-based family office, revealed this week it had taken a majority stake in express intercity service OnniBus.com.

The deal was done via its transport investment arm, Highland Global Transport, which owns a portfolio of road, rail, water and air passenger transport investments in businesses in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

The family office has many investments in the transport and environmental sectors, and Stagecoach Group is the bedrock of its portfolio.

It has an ethical investment policy that means it will not invest in alcohol, tobacco, armaments or gambling.

Souter said he saw “fantastic opportunity” in the Finnish intercity express coach market.

The family office funds will be used to: develop new national networks; acquire a new fleet; invest in operational, web and customer service infrastructure; increase brand awareness; and restructure existing services.

Highland Global Transport’s global transport director Roger Bowker, who has joined the OnniBus.com board, said the family office wants to use its investment to persuade travellers to use more environmentally-friendly transport than their cars.

“In time, our passengers will include everyone, from students to senior citizens and from leisure travellers to businesspeople and commuters,” Bowker said.

In addition to its transport and environmental interests, the family office also has investments in luxury goods, financial services, healthcare, and power generation.

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