SPANISH TRANSPORT GIANT BUYS AWARDWINNING SOLARIS
BETTER KNOWN IN AUSTRALIA as the supplier of the Sydney trams on the Inner West (L1 Dulwich Hill) Light Rail Line, massive Spanish transport entity CAF has just bought Polish bus company Solaris – maker of the current (European) Bus of the Year 2017 – it was announced.
The innovative Polish bus manufacturer – whose zero-emission, 12-metre electric Solaris Urbino low-floor city bus also won the prestigious 2017 EBUS Award (organised by the VDV - German Association of Public Transport Companies), and was the world’s first bus to feature antimicrobial copper handrails to help reduce the spread of germs between passengers – saw CAF acquire 100 per cent of its shares and will now be included in the massive CAF group.
At the time of publication, Australasian Bus & Coach was attempting to confirm if the addition of electric buses to CAF’s formidable arsenal of public transport product would see such vehicles here in future, ADR regulations permitting, given CAF’s established Australian PT business experience already.
This transaction will ensure the leadership of the CAF Group and Solaris in the supply of innovative
“... we will create a leader in urban mobility solutions.”
solutions in urban public transport in Europe and will strengthen the position of both brands in the international markets, the company states.
The Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) company is a Spanish manufacturer with more than 100 years of history and is listed on the Spanish stock exchange. The company is engaged in the design, production, maintenance and supply of rolling stock and rail vehicles.
Another area of company’s activity involves the latest solutions for urban transport, including e-mobility. The public transport vehicles produced by CAF are known all over the world, i.e.: Europe, USA, South America, Asia (India and Japan) and in North African countries.
“CAF’s investment in Solaris confirms our commitment to the vision of profitable growth and opens new strategic markets to CAF,” said Andrés Arizkorreta, president and CEO of CAF Group. “Together with Solaris, we will create a leader in urban mobility solutions beyond rolling stock, particularly in the e-mobility segment. We want to continue using and to develop Solaris’ valuable brand and to keep its Polish character. The combination of both companies’ know-how in production, design, technology and services - together with the track record of Solaris in bus product innovation - will allow us to better serve our clients while creating shareholder value”.
A DIFFICULT DECISION
Solange Olszewska, founder of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., said: “It was not an easy decision for me and my family. Over 20 years ago, my husband and I founded our company that today employs nearly 2,500 people and that is active on more than 30 markets. I know that I am leaving the company in good hands. The CAF Group will continue the best practice in the Solaris brand and will let it grow even more”.
“We want to ensure all stakeholders of CAF and Solaris companies - in particular our customers and suppliers - that we continue all business processes and cooperation in an unchanged form and that we will fulfil all our obligations resulting from the binding agreements,” added Arizkorreta.
Additionally, CAF has entered into an agreement with the Polish PFR investment fund – Polski Fundusz Rozwoju – for the acquisition by the latter of a minority stake in Solaris (35 per cent) in the same terms and conditions agreed by CAF in the acquisition of Solaris.
This agreement will materialise in the next weeks once the administrative procedures are finished and the authorisation of the corresponding regulatory entities is obtained, it states. Through the participation of a solid financial partner like PFR as a minority shareholder, CAF maintains the Polish identity of Solaris and strengthens its position to accomplish the ambitious growth plan of the company, it adds.
Above: Going... Going... Gone! Massive Spanish transport entity CAF has just bought Polish bus company Solaris.