Business

Knutsford Express raises $150M in bond issue

Makes first acquisition outside of Jamaica

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

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Transportation company Knutsford Express Services Limited has successfully raised $150 million through a private bond, which it has partially used to fund the acquisition of a small bus charter company in Florida.

It's the luxury bus company's first venture outside of Jamaica, and Chief Executive Officer Oliver Townsend, reckons that the acquisition of the Florida-based charter bus company “fits well with Knutsford's core strength”.

Today, Knutsford Express is recognised as the market leader in luxury bus transportation services locally, traveling between major cities and town, while capturing additional revenue from the provision of cargo services to those cities and towns that it traverses.

Ultimately, Townsend hopes to have 25 per cent of Knutsford's revenues coming from diversified sources.

“Our business has been growing steadily over the years and we want to ensure that we have strong growth prospects and, over time, jump on opportunities that can do that…We believe that the way we run our transportation business this charter company will fit well with us” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

In addition to the recent acquisition, Knutsford is also planning on improving the business model by expanding locally. Townsend was, however, tight-lipped on how the $150 million raised has been split between the local and international business opportunities.

“We have some other stuff coming that the public will definitely be hearing about. It's continuous evolution for our business,” he told the Business Observer.

For the first quarter ended August 31, revenues of Knutsford Express climbed 23.5 per cent over the comparative period of 2017, from $237 million to $293 million. According to Townsend, the increase was due to strong customer demand for passenger travel.

Knutsford's growth in revenues positively impacted net profit for the quarter, which grew 55 per cent from $56 million to $88 million. Total assets of the company also grew from $648 million to $834 million year over year.

“Our digitisation efforts, with increased use of our apps and online booking platform, have made us more accessible as we strive to continue satisfying our customers. We were able to increase the seats in our reservation centre, facilitating more passenger travel.

“Both channels have served to boost earnings and profits in the first quarter,” Townsend told shareholders in an adjoining statement to the company financials.

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