TWO family firms have merged in order to become a true south coast driving force.
Fareham coach firm Lucketts Travel has this week bought Southampton’s Coliseum Coaches from the Pitter family.
Coliseum Coaches can trace its history back to the 1890s, and like Lucketts has always been run by the same family.
Together the two companies have 200 years’ experience in the coach travel business.
Talking to The News, Lucketts joint managing director Ian Luckett said the take-over had been friendly, and the Coliseum Coach business will remain trading under that name.
Mark Pitter, son of former owner David, who sold the business due to his retirement, will stay on as general manager of the Southampton business.
All 15 of the firm’s staff have been retained, and three new coaches will be added to the Coliseum fleet.
Mr Luckett added: ‘Coliseum is a superb brand and we felt it was very important for people in Southampton to have that brand there.
‘Nothing’s changing, only that Coliseum’s parent company is now Lucketts Holdings and it’s got some new brother and sister companies to support it and to help push the business into the 21st century.’
The purchase was made possible with finance from HSBC, which loaned the firm money despite the troubling economic pressures in the marketplace.
Last year Coliseum Coaches had a turnover of £1.3m.
Lucketts started as a haulage firm in the 1920s, and now has 180 employees in Fareham and Worthing and a fleet of 80 modern luxury coaches.
It transports hundreds of thousands of passengers a year.
Its ability to weather the recent economic storms was highlighted by the Daily Telegraph, which named Lucketts as one of the UK’s top medium-sized businesses.
David Luckett MBE, chairman of Lucketts Travel, said: ‘We are delighted to announce that we’ve been able to acquire Coliseum Coaches.
‘It’s a good deal for both family firms.
‘It means we can expand our company, and continue to offer even better value and flexibility to our customers.
‘Coliseum operates a superb modern fleet and has a rich history in providing quality services in and around Southampton.
‘It’s a perfect fit with our own business and expansion plans.’