FirstGroup plc announced the sale of school bus contractor First Student and First Transit to EQT Infrastructure, one of the world’s largest infrastructure investors, closed on Wednesday evening.
First Student, the largest student transportation provider in North America with 43,000 school buses in operation, and First Transit operations will reportedly continue as usual and uninterrupted with the same local teams and leadership, according to a press release issued by First Student.
“It’s an exciting time. We now move into a new chapter for our organization,” stated First Student President Paul Osland. “EQT Infrastructure will help us grow, and we’ll continue to invest in our people and cutting-edge technologies. As we look ahead to a new school year, our full focus continues to be on providing safe, reliable, industry-leading service in the communities where we operate.”
Meanwhile, FirstGroup stated in its own release that it has also proposed to increase payouts to its shareholders, to $688.6 million from $502.7 million.
As School Transportation News previously reported, FirstGroup initiated a formal process to sell both divisions in March of last year. In April of this year, FirstGroup reached an agreement with EQT Infrastructure for the sale of First Student and First Transit for $4.6 billion.
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EQT is a global private equity firm and blue-chip infrastructure investor. According to a statement issued by First Student, EQT is reputable and experienced, with the deployment of $11 billion in equity in North America since 2012.
EQT stated in its release that it “is committed to helping future-proof the company by investing in the electrification of its fleet and accelerating its transition to renewable fuel sources in order to support passenger health and reduce environmental impact.”
The company added that it “looks forward to making significant investments in the company’s organization, operations and digital technology so that it can continue to provide its essential services to students and communities across North America for years to come.”