Templewater acquires Citybus and New World First Bus for HK$3.2 billion (US$410 million).

21 August 2020, Hong Kong
Private Equity

(21 August 2020, Hong Kong) Templewater Bravo Holdings Limited (“Templewater Bravo”) together with its operating partner Ascendal Group Limited (“Ascendal”), and its investor partner Hans Energy Company Limited (“Hans Energy”) lead an international consortium in the acquisition of New World First Bus Services Limited (“NWFB”) and Citybus Limited (“Citybus”) from NWS Holdings Limited (“NWS”), for HK$3,200 million. 

NWFB and Citybus have more than 5,000 employees in total, operating around 200 routes with a fleet of more than 1,700 buses and are proud to serve about 1 million passenger trips a day in Hong Kong. They are committed to providing Hong Kong with the best possible bus service. 

Templewater Bravo is an investment holding company advised, managed and controlled by Templewater I, G.P., which is wholly-owned by Templewater Holdings Limited (“Templewater”). Templewater is an alternative investment firm founded by Investec Bank plc and Mr. Cliff Zhang. Templewater Bravo will own more than 90% of NWFB and Citybus post acquisition. 

Ascendal is a specialist public transport operator headquartered in the UK, and being Templewater’s operational partner on this transaction, it will bring the industry’s best practices globally to Hong Kong. Hans Energy is a Hong Kong listed company focusing on the fuel trading, storage transportation and retail sale (filling station), and it is an investor partner to Templewater Bravo and Ascendal in the transaction. 

Once the transaction is complete, there will be changes to the board of directors that ultimately will be responsible for NWFB and Citybus. NWS Chief Executive Officer Mr. Eric Ma will remain on the board, together with three other members of existing management – William Chung (Managing Director), Gareth Ng (Head of HR and Finance) and Paul Li (Head of Engineering). 

Templewater Bravo has pledged to ensure that it is “business as usual” notwithstanding the current difficult operating environment due to the pandemic. There are no plans, after completion of the transaction, to effect material operational changes. There is no change to the remuneration package, terms of employment and employee benefits, the objective being to “keep jobs, keep payroll, and keep benefits”. Templewater Bravo has committed to working in partnership with management and staff for the continued operations and growth of the business. 

Templewater Managing Partner Mr. Nicolas de Mascarel said, “The professional management team at NWFB and Citybus has been unwavering in its commitment and service pledge to passengers. We believe that this resilience will see the business through its current difficulties and we are proud and excited to be part of their journey going forward. Our long term vision for NWFB and Citybus is to put the community we serve and our people at the heart of the business.” 

Ascendal Group Founder and Executive Chairman Mr. Adam Leishman said, “Hong Kong is one of the best public transport cities in the world. We believe a public transport system is the lifeblood of a city and we are excited to work with Templewater to ensure that Hong Kong continues to have a world class bus service”. 

Hans Energy Executive Director and CEO Mr. Yang Dong said, “We are excited and honoured to have this investment opportunity, enabling the company to take part in Hong Kong’s public services, providing excellent services to the community. We believe this investment would bring sustainable and stable return to the company and its shareholders.” 

NWS Chief Executive Officer Mr. Eric Ma said, “The transaction is in line with the Group’s strategy of optimizing its business portfolio to achieve sustainable long-term growth, prudent risk management and value for all stakeholders. The additional financial resources generated from the transaction will allow the Group to leverage on our strong foundation to capture the opportunities ahead. We believe that the new shareholders can continue to develop and optimize the high quality services delivered by NWFB and Citybus, and create a bright future.”


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