Spanish CAF to take over bus maker Solaris
Spain’s railway company CAF wants to take over Polish bus maker Solaris. For CAF this means broadening their portfolio particularly in e-mobility while Solaris has been looking for investment. Projections suggests a price of over 300 million euros with approval expected by September 2018.
CAF said that the acquisition is in line with its strategy to offer integrated transport solutions to an even wider portfolio of clients. The firm expects not only to enter the (electric) bus business but to also open new opportunities for its urban railway business in Central and Eastern Europe.
For Solaris the offers comes in a period of growth. The bus maker from Poland now has a presence in over 700 cities in 32 countries. Their turnover was close to €450 million in 2017 and they delivered 1,397 buses, including conventional models last year.
Production plants in the cities of Bolechowo and Środa, and a workforce of more than 2,300 people, produce one of the widest range of electrified buses in Europe such as hybrid buses, trolleybuses, all-electric and fuel cell powered public transport vehicles.
Solaris’ sells mainly in Poland, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and the Baltics. Yet they aim for a more global scale, hence the search for investors to come on board.
Explains Solaris Bus & Coach CEO Solange Olszewska: “In discussions with potential investors, I considered offers from both the Polish market and other countries. I strongly believe that CAF has the right vision for the company and will be able to develop Solaris’ potential on a global scale.”
CAF would keep the company widely intact. Says CAF CEO Andrés Arizkorreta: “We want to continue using and to develop Solaris’ valuable brand and to keep its Polish character.”
The transaction between CAF and Solaris involves the acquisition of all of Solaris’ shares. It will be funded mainly by additional CAF debt, and remains subject to customary closing conditions.
Given the strong growth of Solaris, it may first appear contradictory to sell now. However, the company is young, and larger, established bus makers are jumping on the electric bandwagon while global competition is heating up. Take China’s BYD that is seen to enter Europe and just expanded their UK operations reportedly. Also Volvo’s first and only all-electric bus, the 7900 Electric is writing orders from Gothenburg to Oslo. And there is Daimler that recently shared an order with Solaris when both delivered electric buses to Berlin.