Transdev consoles itself in the United States by buying First Transit, after a failure in France

Transdev consoles itself in the United States by buying First Transit, after a failure in France

The French transport operator Transdev will double in size in the United States. This company, 66% owned by the Caisse des dépôts et consignations and 34% by the German family group Rethmann, has received the necessary authorizations to buy the company First Transit from the Swedish investment fund EQT, a transaction validated by its board. of directors Monday, March 6.

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First Transit operates buses on fixed intercity lines, organizes transport on demand for people with reduced mobility and maintains vehicle fleets. This company of more than 20,000 people will therefore merge with the American activities of Transdev, to form an entity with 35,000 employees in the country, ie almost a third of the group’s workforce worldwide.

Going from 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion euros, the group’s turnover in the United States becomes comparable to that achieved in France, passing in front of Germany, where Transdev is the rail operator. The amount of the acquisition is not communicated, but it discouraged Keolis, a subsidiary of the SNCF. Transdev is now present in forty-four American states out of fifty. It is also established in six Canadian provinces, where it will develop, among other things, the Toronto metro.

“Real electric bus industry”

Thierry Mallet, CEO of Transdev, welcomes this development, while “the public transport market in France is mature, with a slight loss of momentum in investment, and monopolies [SNCF, RATP] who do not want to see anyone enter their market”. It’s the opposite in the United States, where there is no monopoly and where Joe Biden is implementing a vast plan on infrastructure and public transport, adopted in 2021.

The boss is pleased to see this development in the United States “a real electric bus industry”. And warns Europe: “Once the decision is made, the implementation goes quickly in North America, faster than at homehe believes. This is the advantage of having a large market, truly unique, and on the electrification of the park, we feel that it has accelerated for two to three years. »

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For now, however, the group’s most electrified fleet remains that of the Netherlands, with 500 electric buses out of 1,500. To this will be added 470 American buses, which allow the group to aim for 3,000 electric buses. In France, society is not particularly ahead in this area. Finally, the energy crisis, which weighed on the group’s profitability in Germany in 2022, does not exist across the Atlantic.

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