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January 13, 2011  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Student Transportation acquires New York bus companies


WALL, N.J. — Student Transportation Inc. (STI) has acquired Ridge Road Express Inc., along with related companies Grand Island Transit Corp. (doing business as Grand Tours) and Scholastic Transportation Management Services Inc., which are all based in Lockport, N.Y.

The transaction and closing were contingent upon meeting certain conditions and receiving various consents and renewals, which have been obtained. Management expects the deal to be immediately accretive to shareholders of its common stock. The acquisition will add over 320 vehicles, annualized revenues of just over $16 million and six new locations for STI.

"With this acquisition, we have completed the second of three previously announced letters of intent we signed last month," said Denis J. Gallagher, STI chairman and CEO. "Grand Tours, Ridge Road Express and Scholastic Transportation Management are major new additions to our family. We welcome Tom Weeks and his entire staff to our growing family of companies. Tom will be joining our senior management team, and we look forward to his continued leadership. His experience and commitment to the school bus industry, particularly in New York state, is highly regarded by many and fits very well with our ongoing operations in New York state."

The company utilized availability under its current senior credit facility to fund the acquisition. The transaction share purchase agreement was funded with a combination of cash and stock.

Commenting on the transaction, Tom Weeks, president of Grand Tours, Ridge Road Express and Scholastic Transportation Management Services, said, "This was an emotional decision for us. However, when I met Denis Gallagher and the STI team, it wasn't a hard decision at all. STI has built a tremendous team with a reputation for quality service. It is very much a family business like ours. I am very excited about joining the Student Transportation family of companies and being part of the senior management team. We will still be known locally as Grand Tours, Ridge Road Express and Scholastic Transportation Management Services, and our drivers and vehicles will continue to provide safe, economical transportation for our charter customers and for thousands of students each year from school districts across western New York."

"This merger will strengthen our regional platform and build on our long-term business objectives," added Gene Kowalczewski, director of operations for STI. "I have known Tom for many years and will work closely with him and the staff maintaining and developing new business. Tom has a highly dedicated team of drivers, bus aides, supervisors and mechanics who will continue to be great assets to the operation. We're also excited to continue the good work of the Weeks' Family Foundation Scholarship Program, which, like our STA [Student Transportation of America] Education Foundation, seeks to increase awareness of the importance in community service and provides scholarships to high school seniors in communities they serve."

Sun Mergers & Acquisitions based in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., acted as sole financial advisor for the sellers.

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