12 June 2011

More on PolskiBus.com

Following on from Friday evening's (now amended!) blog entry, there was one large element we omitted: Why did Brian Souter choose Souter Investments and not Stagecoach to begin the new Polish coach company, PolskiBus.com?

When you own the largest bus company in the UK, with world-wide business interests, you would surely use the knowledge, know-how, experience and expertise of that company to start a new venture in Poland. It's not as if Souter hasn't gone out on a limb with Stagecoach before, beginning Megabus as a operation to throw some ex-Hong Kong Leyland Olympians into the mix, to see what happened.

Stagecoach doesn't have a presence in Poland and so it could have been a positive way in which to introduce it. Operations here in the UK that do not use the Stagecoach corporate livery or the company name often carry a "brought to you by Stagecoach" vinyl beneath the operating name. In the case of Megabus, this was hurriedly added after that operation was formed in 2003, as it was seen as reassuring to new passengers. While this may not have the same effect in Poland, it would act as a subtle advertising tool.

Souter Investments said in its press release that it had been keeping an eye on Poland for some time. The manner in which coach companies do business there may not favour the large multi-national. With a portfolio of businesses worth £400m, Souter Investments is anything but small.

There may be unpalatable risks involved with the new venture in Poland that Souter thinks he best shoulder, rather than Stagecoach. Or the potential benefits may be massive and he wants to grow Souter Investments. There may be other investment opportunities spied within the country, as it emerges into a key European partner, and Souter wants 'in' from the start.

PolskiBus.com could be a pawn in a larger future expanse.


Anonymous said...

I own Stagecoach shares. Should I be concerned? This is not rhetorical.

Hickery said...

Not in the slightest. Eighteen coaches from the thousands of buses Stagecoach owns and operates elsewhere in the world wouldn't even register on the balance sheet, but if Souter makes a small fortune in Poland through PolskiBus.com then those profits would not go to Stagecoach, but his Investments company, who has stumped up the initial outlay.