KKR To Acquire Ritchies Transport for $347 Million

Ritchies Transport, a New Zealand bus and coach company with an 86-year history, is set to be acquired by global investment firm KKR. The deal's terms were not published, but individuals familiar with the situation claim Ritchies is worth more than $347 million ($500 million NZD).

The official agreements under which KKR will acquire Ritchies were signed on Thursday, marking KKR's first infrastructure investment in New Zealand. KKR claims that owning the bus company, which has a fleet of over 1,600 vehicles and 42 depots across the country, will help them expand their business, and achieve their mission “to better connect local communities, support the country’s expanding public transport network and promote greener transportation solutions.”

New Zealand is still primarily an ICE-dependent country, but it has intentions to electrify. The government has mandated that all of its agencies and ministries electrify their fleets within the next five years, with the goal of completely decarbonizing public transportation, which primarily relies on buses, by 2035. Kiwi Bus Builders, a New Zealand company, just completed a fleet of ADL electric buses that have made their way across Auckland's streets.

Ritchies buses will represent "a very prominent opportunity to stimulate the use of zero-emissions technology," according to Andrew Jennings, director of KKR's infrastructure business. New Zealand continues to show "demand for high quality, greener public transportation options."

KKR told TechCrunch that it does have a plan to assist Ritchies in electrifying its fleet, and that the company has made global breakthroughs in areas connected to sustainable mobility, and that it will use those experiences to help the country go toward zero emissions.

KKR's Asia Pacific Infrastructure Fund made the investment. The deal is still subject to OIO approval, which KKR estimates will take four to five months. The Ritchie family will retain a stake in the company when the sale is completed, and Andrew Ritchie, the current director of operations, will take over as CEO when Glenn Ritchie, the current CEO, retires.