News : Optare doubles revenue and reduces losses

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Optare Rapta

 

Optare sales revenue doubled in the six months to 30 September from £22.7m last year to £46.7m this year. In the six months the company reduced its pre-tax losses from £4.4m to £3.3m. In the last three months of the period it produced an EBITDA profit of £146,000. Export revenues reached a record £10.5m.

The company has made progress on cost reduction, with direct labour costs being cut from 15.2 to 7.9 per cent of sales, reflecting the company’s considerably increased revenue. Administration costs likewise have been cut from 23.7 to 10.2 per cent of revenue.

The company’s order book at the end of September was valued at £19.4million, compared with £55million last year. The company says this drop “is in part a reflection of the shorter lead-times being achieved at the new factory in Sherburn”. It is also awaiting the results of order decisions by the big bus groups. Material cost reductions of £900 per bus were made during the period and in the next six months Optare is targeting a reduction of a further £3,000 a bus as it benefits from Ashok Leyland’s purchasing power.

Commenting on the interim results chief executive officer Jim Sumner, who leaves the company at the end of this month, says: ‘I am delighted with the significant progress we have made against the turnaround plan and would like to take this opportunity to thank the board for their support and the efforts and commitment of the entire organisation over what has been a very challenging period for the business. I have every confidence that Optare will go from strength to strength as part of Ashok Leyland’s global business.’

[Source: Bus and Coach]

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

23 Comments

  1. Of the Optare buses I’ve ridden in, I prefer them to their Dennis/Plaxton rivals. And much more stylish.

    Glad to see that they are still in business and looking viable.

  2. Optare, a company that has lost orders through their own arrogance, simply by point blank refusing to build double deckers any more. I know of several operators who have gone to Wrightbus, simply through Optare not accepting orders for Volvo B9TL’s with Optare’s now deleted Olympus body, and NCT were a regular buyer for Scania Omnidekka semi integrals. Optare have now also lost major contracts with the leasing companies, who have now switched to the Streetlite. Optare will continue to make losses, partly thanks to the stupidly over large factory they moved to at Sherburn in Elmet, and an ever increasingly alienated customer base. I know of one operator who has now sworn never to buy Optare again.

  3. Optare, a company that has lost orders through their own arrogance, simply by point blank refusing to build double deckers any more. I know of several operators who have gone to Wrightbus, simply through Optare not accepting orders for Volvo B9TL’s with Optare’s now deleted Olympus body, and NCT were a regular buyer for Scania Omnidekka semi integrals. Optare have now also lost major contracts with the leasing companies, who have now switched to the Streetlite. Optare will continue to make losses, partly thanks to the stupidly over large factory they moved to at Sherburn in Elmet, and an ever increasingly alienated customer base. I know of one operator who has now sworn never to buy Optare again.

  4. I used to drive an Optare on a daily basis and it was the most comfortable bus I ever drove, you could drive all day and never have an ache; far better than the 40 foot Scania’s…

  5. Hmm… The name Optare rings bells. In 1989/90 I worked for Henlys who at the time owned Plaxton, Duple, Reeve Burgess, Coleman Milne.
    Remind me someone – where are Optare based; what precisely do they/did they build??

  6. They were based in Crossgates Leeds in the former CH Roe premises but since relocated to Sherburn in Elmet

    They built (amongst others)

    MetroRoider
    Spectra
    Sigma
    Solo
    Verso
    Tempo

  7. Yes, Optare completely cocked up the double deck market.

    They mase a big fuss about no longer bodying other chassis, so ruining the former East Lancs side of the business, as they were to introduce the radical integral Optare Rapta (pictured above in 2008).
    Then they abort the Rapta (saying the double decker market doesn’t justify the investment) and decide to produce an integral version of the (ex East Lancs) Olympus. Then they don’t do that either.
    So now they don’t have an integral double decker, and don’t body other people’s chassis either. East Lancs used to do a nice line in open top sightseeing buses…

  8. Ridiculous- bus ridership seems to be on the up, meaning that double deckers are surely more in demand.

    Today I’ve ridden on a knackered and hopelessly overcrowded ALX200 (on the only non-subsidised route in Gloucester), a pristine new Scania-powered Enviro 400 with comfortable ‘leather’ seats, an Optare Tempo, and another ALX200- so overcrowded that the bus driver initially refused to let me on (but as it happened there was someone who was trying to get off so he did). The engine and the transmission seemed to be having a violent domestic argument, judging by the noises and amount of shunting. The Optare was my favourite of all of those- so they must be doing something right.

    But no Optare deckers in production? Really strains my credulity that they could be so stupid.

  9. The bus in the photo is the Rapta Integral Double-decker, announced with great fanfare by Optare at the same time as he Solo Plus, which was meant to replace the original-design Solo and sit under the current Solo SR…However the Solo Plus was styled with all the grace and finesse of the Leyland EA van…indeed some would argue the EA van looked better. Such was industry’s negative reaction to the Solo Plus it was binned very quickly – none were ever built – and that seems to have doomed the Rapta at the same time.

    I worry about Optare I really do. Its pulled out of one of the biggest sectors of the Bus market by cancelling its integral double decker, which seems strange to say the least…iIt has a modern production facility which cannot be getting fully utulised. It now builds just four models (Solo SR, Versa, Tempo and Metrocity), two of which actuallly compete against each other (Metrocity and Versa) and its rumoured the Tempo is to be discontinued shortly, just over a year after it was face-lifted.

    Whilst a forward order book of close to twenty million sounds impressive it has to be put into perspective. Wrightbus with its orders for the NBfL – or red elephant depending on your viewpoint – has orders in excess of £150 million and ADL with the revised Enviro 500 has orders on its books for £220 million……

  10. Have they definitely binned the Olympus? If that’s true, then it’s a crying shame. Optare’s website says they are still developing it, but that information could very well be out of date. Apart from Alexander Dennis and Wrightbus, there is only MCV (3 built so far) who are building double deckers. Don’t know if Scania plan to return to the UK double deck market…

  11. Scania flog the integral Omnidekka built in Poland here in the UK. I feel Optare couldn’t run a **** up in a brewery, and they have a very old BL-esque attitude to their customers, i.e YOU WILL HAVE WHAT WE SAY, unlike East Lancs, which was ‘you want that cocker? Reeto, no problem’

  12. @Yorkiebusdriver:

    The Scania Omnidekka with East Lancashire Coachworks body bowed out of production in 2011 with the final examples being delivered to NCT. The only double-decker Scania currently offers is the Omnicity.

    From a passenger’s perspective, the Scania Omnidekka is a fabulous bus to travel on and I really mourned the day in August 2008 when First Hampshire & Dorset replaced their fleet of six examples used on the Jurassic Coast X53 service from Exeter to Poole with the Volvo B9 Wright Gemini Eclipse. Even the drivers prefer the Scanias, despite the fact they have each racked up half a million miles in nearly nine years and are becoming rattly.

    Even though I can’t drive a bus and am not a serious bus enthusiast, I do have a strange affection for the Scania Omnidekka and love travelling on one.

  13. David 3500

    You can also get a Scania double-decker specified with ADL Enviro 400 bodywork. It looks a tad different from the integral ADL Enviro 400 as the rear end is longer and there is no lower rear window.

    Stagecoach specifies a lot of them, mainly for non-city fleets such as whatever Ribble is known these days as, Western Scottish and the former Cambus operations. Plus I believe Go-Ahead had a batch for Oxford and some smaller fleets have some as well. The smaller fleets are interesting as they used to specify the former East Lancs Omni-dekka so would appear that this may have taken over that mantle.

    However at the same time Preston Bus, whose newest double decker was the East Lancs/Scania combination and was a regular customer for Optare/East Lancs went to Wrights for its next batch of decker’s as did Delaine of Bourne. Perhaps if they still had the option, Optare would have still got the order.

  14. Delaine did want more B9TL/Olympus, and Ipswich Buses wanted more than the 2 Optare badged Olympus Scania deckers, but they were both told NOPE. Preson Bus (Rotala)’s new deckers are B5L hybrids by the looks, and ADL are flooging quite a few Scania deckers because they do not need Adblue, unlike the Dennis E400, and Volvos. It’s a full on 12 bore to the feet from Optare. That factory is massively under utilised, and all I can think is they have plans for making something other than buses there, suck as CKD 4×4 light trucks to military spec

  15. The interesting thing here is that the integral decker Optare had originally been developing as a variant of the Olympus has now broken cover as the Metrodecker. It will be interesting to see how well this model does in a marketplace already filled with products from Volvo, Alexander Dennis, Wrights and Scania. I’m not particularly sure what the logic behind the strategy is in offering the Metrocity in the same market segment as the Versa when both are essentially the same vehicle mechanically, unless of course the Metrocity is intended as a Streetlite fighter. The saddest part of the Optare range is that the Tempo doesn’t look likely to be re-engineered for Euro 6, the facelifted SR version of this vehicle is possibly the most stylish large saloon a manufacturer has offered on the market in recent years. Maybe they’ve decided to just offer the Versa V1170 as their largest single deck offering as a nod to the operator who wants a more stylish bus than other manufacturers offer.

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