Wheels fall off Bri­tain’s big­gest bus maker

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Oliver Gill

UP TO 650 jobs are at risk at Alexan­der Den­nis as Bri­tain’s big­gest bus maker pre­pares to swing the axe in re­sponse to the pan­demic.

The firm, head­quar­tered in Lar­bert, Scot­land, said de­mand for new ve­hi­cles has been crushed by a sharp down­turn in com­mut­ing and it has no choice but to slash costs.

A host of or­ders were can­celled af­ter so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules and low pas­sen­ger num­bers put a squeeze on op­er­a­tors’ fi­nances. The com­pany – which is owned by listed Cana­dian bus man­u­fac­turer NFI – said pay cuts and re­duced work­ing hours have not been enough to keep it in the black.

Alexan­der Den­nis said: “The steps taken so far are in­suf­fi­cient to align the com­pany’s cost base to the cur­rent eco­nomic re­al­ity and it now seeks to move to a leaner, more flex­i­ble man­u­fac­tur­ing model.”

A for­mal con­sul­ta­tion has been launched, with up to 650 of its 2,500-strong staff fac­ing re­dun­dancy.

Colin Robert­son, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “A few short months ago, we were look­ing at a record year of sales, reap­ing the ben­e­fits of all our in­vest­ment in new tech­nol­ogy, and new mar­kets. All of this changed with Covid-19.”

Alexan­der Den­nis was founded 16 years ago by a con­sor­tium that in­cluded Stage­coach bil­lion­aire Sir Brian Souter. A ma­jor­ity stake was sold to NFI last year in a £300m deal.

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