Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arriva Keeps on Growing, and It Makes the World a Little Smaller

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arriva Keeps on Growing, and It Makes the World a Little Smaller

Article excerpt

Byline: By Howard Walker

Transport group Arriva is expanding its global horizons still further under its new chief executive. Howard Walker reports.

When Bob Davies stepped down from the top job at Sunderland-based bus and rail operator Arriva earlier this year, he could look back with some degree of satisfaction at the way in which the company had become one of Europe's largest public transport companies.

In his seven years in charge, Arriva was transformed from a car dealership group with a bus business sideline into a bus and rail operator in the UK and nine European countries, employing more than 30,000 people.

By the time of his departure, Arriva had transport operations in nine European countries ranging from Sweden to Portugal and was responsible for running 5,500 buses and 225 trains across the continent.

The company was turning over pounds 500m from its continental business, but Arriva was already setting its sights on doubling that figure to pounds 1bn by 2010.

By September 2005, Arriva's continental operations had accounted for more than a third of group revenue and 36% of group operating profit.

Recently installed chief executive David Martin, formerly Arriva's deputy chief executive and group managing director for operations, pledged to continue that growth when he took over the post.

While the Sunderland company is strong in countries including Germany, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands, it is now looking to expand its business into other territories with eastern Europe a particular target.

Mr Martin has highlighted Poland and the Czech Republic as Arriva's next two big targets as the company looks to take advantage of the freeing up of formerly state-run transport networks there.

He has also emphasised the continuing importance of the group's business in Italy and Germany as its domestic operations in the UK are hit by soaring fuel costs.

Mr Martin said: "When a new chief executive comes in people often ask if the strategy is going to change but I have worked alongside Bob (Davies) for six or seven years and my role has been to develop the international activities of Arriva and we have obviously built that from nothing to a one billion euro operation in that market. …

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