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Fullers to spend $16m on new ferries

Fullers ferries is investing $16 million to add two additional vessels to the Waiheke-Auckland route, the largest commercial contract in New Zealand history.

The new and faster 360-passenger vessels to be constructed by Wanganui-based Q-West, aim to increase frequency and capacity for commuters and visitors.

Te Kotuku design and will feature electronic engines, improved emission control technologies and an additional 80 seats for passengers.

A scenic platform and increased space for designated cabin baggage has also been planned.

Fullers CEO Doug Hudson said, "it is important for the company, and particularly the shareholder, that the vessels are constructed locally thereby providing a much needed boost to the regional economy."

Locally owned boatmakers Q-West will employ 20 additional staff to work on the construction of the two vessels.

President of the NZ Marine Industry Association, Myyles Fothergill said, "it is fantastic to have such a high calibre company recognising local capability and buying New Zealand made."

Earlier this year Sir Brian Souter and Souter Group announced plans to invest $100 million over a 3-year expansion scheme.

Souter said his company's assets had a value of between $170 million and $180 million. Sales were around $110 million a year, he said.

The company added a new 350 to 400-seat ferry to the Waiheke Island run and had two more on order. The bus fleet was also being rapidly expanded with 15 New Zealand-assembled double deckers added to Auckland and long-haul routes and 10 more on order.

The first vessel will launch in October 2016 and the second in April 2017.

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InMotion – new name for Souter Group reflects focus on growth

A new name for Souter Group’s transport operations reflects the company’s focus on growing its urban, city to city, charter and tour service businesses, Group chairman Sir Brian Souter said today.

Announcing Souter Group’s acquisition of Rotorua-based coachline and urban service operator Reesby Buses, Sir Brian said putting the Souter Group’s bus and ferry businesses together into the newly-formed InMotion Group was an obvious next step in the businesses’ growth and development.

“With ManaBus.com’s acquisition of nakedbus.com in May, and now the addition of Reesby, we felt it was time the Group’s transport interests had a separate identity,” Sir Brian said.

Sir Brian said Souter Group executive Bill Rae would head InMotion, and the management structure at the various operating companies, which include ferry and bus operators Fullers, 360 Discovery Cruises, Mana Coach Services, Reesby Rotorua and Howick & Eastern Buses, would remain unchanged.

The acquisition of Reesby, settled this week, expands the InMotion network to over 340 buses and coaches and 17 ferries, carrying over 16 million passengers each year within and between towns and cities across New Zealand..

Bill Rae said Reesby, which had previously provided services to nakedbus under contract, gave InMotion’s long-distance services a well-established Central North Island hub, which would improve operating efficiency and potentially increase the range of services the company could offer.

Mr Rae also said Reesby’s CityRide buses were a good fit with InMotion’s plan to further develop its urban service operations.

“A number of provincial urban services in the North Island are coming up for tender, and we will be looking very closely at any and all of those opportunities,” Mr Rae said.

“This is all in the context of a capital investment programme across the bus and ferry fleet that will continue to upgrade the services provided and the experience of our customers. We expect to invest up to $100 million over a three year period.”