Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 09:32 UK

Bus companies in takeover talks

A Stagecoach bus
Stagecoach has invested 120m in vehicles over last three years

North bus company Rapsons could be poised to be taken over by rival operator Stagecoach.

Talks have been held about a proposed sale of the Inverness-based group, which runs services in the Highlands and Orkney.

Rapsons have informed its staff of the negotiations, but was making no further comment.

Stagecoach confirmed the two were in negotiation but said "they may or may not reach an agreement".

One of the biggest transport companies in the country, Stagecoach has a fleet of about 12,000 buses in Britain and North America.

It has invested 120m on vehicles in the past three years.

In 2006, Rapsons bus drivers threatened to strike before voting by a majority to accept an improved pay offer from their employers.

About 200 workers with Rapsons group - which includes Highland Country Buses and Orkney Coaches - came close to taking industrial action.

The Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) had called on Rapsons to bring pay in line with rival firm Stagecoach.

The T&G had recommended that its members reject the deal offered.

Drivers had been unhappy that their counterparts at Stagecoach were paid 1 an hour more.

Conciliation service Acas were involved in talks between the union and Rapsons.


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