MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Specialty vehicle brand manufacturer REV Group completed on Friday the sale of its two shuttle bus businesses to Forest River Inc., a manufacturer of recreational vehicles and shuttle buses, and will sharpen its focus on producing school transportation vehicles.
In particular, REV Group, the parent company of Type A school bus builder Collins Bus Corp., has sold its shuttle manufacturing businesses in Imlay City, Mich., and Salina, Kan., which have manufactured the shuttle bus brands Champion Bus, ElDorado, Federal Coach, Goshen Coach, Krystal Coach, and World Trans.
Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down outstanding borrowings under the company’s ABL debt facility, according to a news release from REV Group. Financial details are included in a current report on Form 8-K that was filed on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We continue to review our businesses and align the portfolio to achieve our strategic objectives and create shareholder value,” said Rod Rushing, REV Group’s president and CEO. “The divestiture of our shuttle bus business provides an opportunity to improve our portfolio profitability, reduce debt, and renew our focus on reducing our leverage. We are committed to improving our operations to achieve best-in-class performance in each of our business segments.
“I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our shuttle business employees and wish them success,” Rushing added.
David Wright, the president of Forest River’s bus division, said in a news release on Friday that Champion Bus and ElDorado “have built a history of integrity, quality, and innovation, and enjoy an excellent reputation in our industry today.”
“As we navigate these challenging times, the addition of these historic and iconic brands to the Forest River family enhances our ability to provide products and a customer experience that is second to none,” Wright added. (Starcraft Bus, a manufacturer of shuttle buses and school buses, is a division of Forest River Inc.)
Meanwhile, REV Group is moving forward with all of its other businesses, which include manufacturing school buses and transit buses, fire trucks, ambulances, and recreational vehicles. This comes despite recent two-week-long shutdowns of its manufacturing operations, with the exception of ambulances and fire trucks, which it ramped up due to the heightened medical response needed for the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony Besasie, the chief marketing officer for REV Group, told School Bus Fleet.
However, it put production of its Collins Bus Corp. Type A buses back on line on May 4, and is getting it up and running at full speed.
In fact, Besasie said, REV Group is increasing its focus — “doubling down,” as he put it — on the school bus market through its Collins Bus Corp. brand.
“REV Group will devote more attention to school buses and multi-function school activity buses (MFSABs),” he added.
This is evidenced by the upcoming rollout of Collins’ new electric bus, which is currently in the testing phase and will soon be on the road. The first electric bus is being transported to California, where it will undergo more testing before it is delivered to its first customer later this week, Besasie said.
REV Group is also looking into supplying safety products on school buses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, Besasie emphasized that REV Group is remaining in the public transit space, and production is also back online for its public transportation buses.
“ENC is a very strong brand for us,” he said. “We are just no longer making shuttles.”
Besasie added that REV Group is “cautiously optimistic and hopeful for better economic times ahead.”