A family-run coach firm whose contracts include ferrying soccer teams and supporters around the country has been rescued by a larger north west rival in a pre-pack administration deal.
The sale of Haytons Executive Travel saves 60 jobs and means there will be no disruption to services operated by the firm.
Haytons, based in Gorton, Manchester, has been bought by Selwyns Travel Group, which has its headquarters in Cheshire and depots in Greater Manchester and on Merseyside.
Haytons, founded in 1984 by Barry Hayton, will continue to operate under its own name and with its existing management team.
It has a variety of contracts including ones with FC United, Stockport County, various soccer supporters’ clubs, National Express and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. Turnover is nearly £5m.
The business was facing serious cash flow difficulties in the new year, which prompted its owners to seek a buyer.
Selwyns, which has its HQ in Runcorn and depots in Manchester,Liverpool and St Helens, employs more than 200 staff and has grown organically and through acquisition since its inception in 1968.
Chairman Selwyn Jones said: “I am extremely pleased to have been able to acquire the business with an enviable reputation, strong brand and market position within the Manchester area.
“The Haytons name will remain, as well as Barry and the existing management team.
“As a result of this acquisition, Selwyns Travel Group has an additional operational platform which will place us in an extremely strong position to further develop our business throughout the north west.”
The deal comes amid a period of consolidation in the sector as coach hire businesses grapple with soaring fuel prices and tough economic conditions.
Paul Stanley, a partner at Manchester-based Begbies Traynor, was appointed administrator and sold Haytons.
He said: “We have been able to save 60 jobs and sell the business as a going concern to another quality operator.”
He said the main issue in the sale process was satisfying Hayton's two biggest customers, the GMPTE and National Express, of the credentials of potential buyers.
Mr Stanley added: “Sensible negotiations between all parties have enabled a sale which will involve no disruption to services and no worry for passengers.
“This type of deal to an independent purchaser is a textbook example of how the pre-packed administration procedure should work.”