Well hats of to Stelios again, this is the man who introduced us to cheap airfare, internet café’s,cruises,and hotels, he has decided to take his easy bus set up that bit further, well a lot further really, he plans to go into competion against companies like Euro Lines.
He has had his fair share of knockers, but in his typical way stood his ground and just got on with it, he hasn’t been afraid of competition in the past, and I would imagine he wont be afraid this time, banks actually like lending to Stelios as he always gets results, I say good luck to you Sir Stelios, on your new venture, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear you will drive the first bus to Europe yourself.
The Greek-Cypriot-born billionaire, best known for founding easyJet, is intent on fuelling the expansion of the airport-to-city centre bus brand.
The Sunday Telegraph understands countries earmarked for the initial expansion include France, Spain and Germany, with other parts of continental Europe being considered further down the tracks. Other parts of the UK not currently served are also under discussion.
It is believed the business model for the continent will be largely the same as in the UK, with buses running from airports to major cities. As a result, it is likely he will be piggy-backing on routes flown by the low-cost carrier.
The expansion will be funded in part by a potential stock market listing on London’s junior Aim market, with plans to raise approximately £5m, giving the venture a rough valuation of some £20m. However, a listing, if it happens, is not likely until the start of next year.
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that mid-market investment bankers Liberum Capital and Peel Hunt were being considered as possible advisers. This follows a beauty parade of around six banks in the Square Mile, which took place in the run-up to Christmas.
Although no final decision has been taken as to whether or not to float the business – or fund the expansion from private sources – the news highlights the scope of his ambition for the brand.
If it were to list, it would be only the second time that Sir Stelios has opted for the public markets as a funding mechanism, the first being with easyJet, which he founded in 1995 and listed five years later.
It would be an interesting choice, given that the entrepreneur has not always had the easiest of times dealing with boards and public investors, and is protective of the “easy” brand.
However it would mark a significant step up for easyBus, which was established in 2003, with a service between London and Milton Keynes, using Hendon Central underground station in north London as its terminus point in the capital.
Today, the company promotes itself as the “probably the cheapest and most convenient way of getting” to and from London from Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports. The company has transported more than 2.5m customers since the service began.
It is understood that easyBus turned profitable last year, so there is no rush to raise money, other than to follow an expansion.
A spokesman for easyBus declined to comment.