PREMIER TRANSPORT BUYS STONESTREETS
CONFIRMING months of industry rumours and conjecture, Queensland-based Stonestreets bus company has been sold – excluding its travel component – to NSW south coast-based Premier Transport Group, local Toowoombaarea media confirm.
At the time of print, an official price for the deal had yet to be disclosed, but reports that Stonestreets currently holds 26 Department of Transport and Main Roads school bus contracts, as well as private school and resource sector contracts, plus operates significant charter services means the transaction is seen by many undisclosed sources within the Australian bus industry as a massive strategic boon for the Premier Transport Group.
A rare online auction targeting sporting teams and featuring buses believed to be ex-Stonestreets fleet a few months ago gave rise to industry insiders assessing that Stonestreets was about to close for good, ABC magazine can now confirm, but it seems a sale was the higher probability outcome all along.
According to The Chronicle newspaper
– a regional daily focussed on Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs in Queensland – its recent report states: “A key component of the transaction is that the current [Stonestreets] management structure, and all existing staff, will be transferred to the Premier Group.”
Also that: “The travel division of the company will continue to operate under the ownership and control of the Stonestreets family.”
In terms of the assets involved, it states the sale includes Stonestreets’ Toowoomba, Ipswich and Dalby bus depots and the majority of the bus and coach fleet.
Stonestreets managing director Phil Stonestreet is quoted as stating it meant a great deal to himself and fellow director Bev Mules that they were able to “transition the ownership of our business to a group that so closely aligns with our company structure and values”.
“Mrs Mules’ daughter Michelle Mules is employed in a senior role as operations manager with the company, a role she will continue to hold under the new ownership,” the publication states.
It continues: “Mr Stonestreet said while the sale was a difficult decision for the family, ‘the commitment from the Premier Group to continue to employ the
full complement of our staff, and retain Michelle to lead the local depots, was a critical factor in our decision’.
FAMILY BUSINESS SYMMETRY
Premier Transport Group managing director John King – who is a country representative of the BusNSW Board of Management as well as its current president – is also quoted in The Chronicle as stating his company was delighted to welcome Stonestreets’ operations into the Premier Group.
As it explains, Premier Transport group operates a range of services between northern NSW and north Queensland and is “renowned as a successful family owned business with a strong customer focus and ongoing involvement in community and industry groups”.
Stonestreets Coaches was founded by Keith Stonestreet in Toowoomba, Queensland, in the early 1990s, after purchasing Centenary Heights and Middle Ridge Bus Service, running a regular town service and school runs.
The Toowoomba company expanded
“The travel division of the company will continue to operate under the ownership and control of the Stonestreets family.”
quickly to include additional local school runs, plus other school runs in Roma and Dalby.
Throughout the past 15 years, current directors Phil Stonestreet (Keith’s son) and Bev Mules further expanded the company to include: permanent depots in Ipswich, Roma and Gladstone; a large HQ in Toowoomb; project and charter bus services; plus a formidable travel division.