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FirstGroup Secures New Financing Facility for Electric Bus Acquisition


FirstGroup, the FTSE 250-listed train and bus operator, has announced a new financing facility worth £150 million for the acquisition of up to 1,000 electric bus bodies. This move comes as part of the company’s strategic joint venture with Hitachi to decarbonize its bus fleet, with the intention of purchasing 1,000 electric-bus batteries.

The financing facility has been agreed upon by a three-bank syndicate. However, the total number of bus bodies to be financed will depend on various factors, including forward curve pricing. It’s important to note that the financed amount only covers the chassis and drivetrain, excluding the battery.

In addition to securing the new facility, FirstGroup has been actively buying its 2024 6.875% bonds, resulting in a reduction in future net interest costs. Since the end of its fiscal first-half, the company has already made purchases totaling £44 million. As of January 17, £128.1 million of the 2024 bonds remained outstanding.

Chief Executive Graham Sutherland expressed the company’s dedication to secure and optimize funding for their First Bus decarbonization commitment. He emphasized their goals of expanding electrification opportunities and creating sustainable value for all stakeholders.

At 0818 GMT, shares of FirstGroup were down 0.5% at 170.10 pence.

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