Global investment firm KKR plans to buy Ritchies Transport, a New Zealand bus company and coach company that has an 86-year history. Although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, sources close to the situation estimate that Ritchies is worth more than $347 million ($500million NZD).
The definitive agreements were signed by the two companies on Thursday. This marks KKR's first investment in infrastructure in New Zealand. KKR stated that Ritchies, with its current fleet of over 1,600 buses and 42 depots operating across the country, would be a great addition to the company's mission to improve connectivity, support the country's growing public transport network, and promote greener transportation options.
New Zealand is still a largely ICE-fueled country, but it has plans to electrify. All government agencies and ministries are required to electrify their fleets within five years. The government also aims to completely decarbonize public transport which relies heavily on buses by 2035. Kiwi Bus Builders, an NZ manufacturer, has recently produced a range ADL electric buses that have reached Auckland's streets.
Andrew Jennings, Director of KKRs Infrastructure Team, stated in a statement that Ritchies buses would be a prominent opportunity to promote the adoption zero-emissions technology because New Zealand continues to demand high quality, greener public transportation solutions.
TechCrunch was told by KKR that they have a plan for Ritchies to electrify their fleet. The firm has also made global advancements in sustainable transportation and will use those to propel the country towards zero emission.
The investment is made by KKRs Asia Pacific Infrastructure Fund. OIO approval is required for the transaction to proceed. KKR states that this approval is likely within four to five month. The Ritchie family will still hold a share of the company after the transaction is complete. Andrew Ritchie will become the CEO of the company when Glenn Ritchie, the current chief executive officer, retires.