Plaxton in Scarborough says it is 'business as usual' after £320m takeover

Plaxton in Scarborough
Plaxton in Scarborough

Staff at one of Scarborough’s biggest employers have been told it is ‘business as usual’ following a £320million takeover of its parent company.

Plaxton, which has 670 workers at its Eastfield site, has been acquired by North America’s biggest bus and coach manufacturer.

Paul Soubry, NFI president and chief executive officer, and Colin Robertson, ADL chief executive, visited the Scarborough site last week.

Paul Soubry, NFI president and chief executive officer, and Colin Robertson, ADL chief executive, visited the Scarborough site last week.

Canadian firm NFI Group announced last week that it had bought Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), which has been running Plaxton since 2007.

ADL chief executive Colin Robertson and Paul Soubry, NFI’s president and chief executive officer, came to the Yorkshire coast last week to speak to staff about ‘an exciting new chapter’ for the business.

A spokesperson for ADL said: “They visited Scarborough last Thursday and met with a mixture of trade unions and local senior managers, as well as touring the shop floor, to reassure staff that it is business as usual.

“There are no job cuts planned and the move is really positive.

Hundreds of Plaxton buses are on the UK's roads every day.

Hundreds of Plaxton buses are on the UK's roads every day.

“NFI understand the opportunities and challenges of the sector so this is a win-win acquisition for them and for us.

“The workers appreciate the team coming to Scarborough and explaining everything to them and they felt relieved. They can sleep easy in their beds because there is not going to be a negative impact on the workforce.”

ADL, which has its headquarters in Scotland, employs 2,500 people in the UK – around a quarter of them in Scarborough.

NFI has a workforce of 6,300 in Canada and the United States.

The Plaxton brand has been in existence for more than 110 years. The Scarborough factory said it had seen further growth through 2018, with additional recruitment in all areas, and another intake of young people for a four-year apprenticeship.

It said it was expecting further recruitment into 2019 to meet the demands for public service vehicles built in Scarborough.

Announcing the takeover last week, Mr Soubry said: “This is a transformational acquisition for NFI to become a global bus manufacturer.

“ADL is the UK’s number one bus manufacturer and the number one global producer of double-deck buses, with an established international presence and is recognized as a leader known for innovative products and a commitment to quality and service.

“We’re thrilled to have ADL join the NFI family in a transaction that we believe will drive our business forward by combining joint strengths in engineering, sales, new product development and manufacturing with NFI’s expertise in operational excellence, insourcing, fabrication and systems management.”

The companies insisted ‘the objective is not to cut jobs or rationalise, but to focus on collaboration and best practice sharing’.

ADL chief executive Colin Robertson said: “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success we’ve had building Alexander Dennis over the past 15 years, and I’m excited to have the ADL team join NFI – one great bus company joining another.

“We believe our consolidated businesses will enhance NFI’s market leading position in North America, while improving NFI’s offering through combined engineering expertise, supplier partnerships, electric vehicle know-how and aftermarket platforms.

“I look forward to continuing our solid progress at ADL and also championing further international growth for NFI in coordination with Paul and his leadership team.”