06/05/2021 - 12:00

SeaLink to buy WA bus tour business

06/05/2021 - 12:00

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Ferry operator SeaLink Travel Group has agreed to purchase family-owned business Go West Tours and three of its bus depots for up to $114 million.

SeaLink to buy WA bus tour business
Go West is a family-owned and operated bus tour business, based in Bunbury. Photo: Go West Tours

Ferry operator SeaLink Travel Group has agreed to purchase Western Australian business Go West Tours and three of its bus depots for up to $114 million.

Go West is a bus tour service that supplies charter, rental and tour vehicles to the mining, education, tourism, and government sectors, as well as private groups.

The family-owned business, which has operated for more than 20 years, has nearly 290 buses across nine depots and about 180 employees, with offices in Perth, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Hopetoun, Karratha, Newman, Tom Price and Port Hedland.

It was founded by managing director Stan Haoust, who now owns Go West with his son, David Haoust.

SeaLink said Go West, which generated $46.2 million in revenue in the year to September 2020, maintained a healthy pipeline of new contract opportunities in WA.

Go West is currently under contract to the state government to deliver regional public school bus services, and provides services to a number of resources companies including BHP, Monadelphous, and Rio Tinto.

Under the acquisition terms, SeaLink will make an upfront cash payment of $72.4 million to the vendors, including $3.8 million for three of Go West's bus depots.

That will be followed by a further $16.1 million payment if the family business maintains its earnings in the 2022 and 2023 financial years.

Adelaide-headquartered SeaLink will also pay $25 million to Go West if it exceeds financial targets within that period.

BDO acted as the lead adviser to Go West.

“We built a long-term relationship with Stan, Dave and the rest of the Go West family, the trust was there as we sought an attractive offer from a competitive process," partner Todd Grover said.

"Multiple offers came through, but SeaLink were the stand-out partner.”

Mr Grover said Go West would keep family ties, with David Haoust continuing at the helm.

"Head office remains in Bunbury, but they will move forward with the backing of a multinational with a sizeable balance sheet that will help facilitate their next stage of growth.”

Mr Grover said the WA resources sector had bolstered the national economy through COVID, and that was set to continue.

"Businesses like Go West, that manage the supporting infrastructure that is so essential to mining, will continue to perform strongly. We are seeing a lot of activity in this space, and more deals are imminent.”

SeaLink chief executive Clint Feuerherdt said the acquisition provided the company with an opportunity to expand into a new market.

“Go West has valuable contract counterparties and delivers an essential service for these clients,” he said, noting Go West’s operations were unaffected by the pandemic.

“The Go West team has built a high-quality business focused on providing great service whilst maintain high safety standards for their clients.

“Our intention is to retain the well-recognised and established Go West brand and continue to work with, and support, Go West’s existing client base.”

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