The operations of Helsingin Bussiliikenne have been heavily loss-making since its establishment ten years ago. For example, it has generated some 13 million euros in operating losses over the past four years.
The City of Helsinki is set to receive 10 million euros of the sale price in cash, while Koiviston Auto will account for the remaining 14 million euros by paying off debts ran up by Helsingin Bussiliikenne. Regardless, the city will also have to cover 15 million euros in debt owed by the bus operator.
The takeover will allow Koiviston Auto to take control of 23 per cent of the bus services in the capital region.
The Helsinki City Council is scheduled to discuss and decide on the matter on 21 October.
Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy has reported losses since its establishment ten years ago as part of the incorporation of city-owned bus operations into Suomen Turistiauto. Helsinki, Rauhamäki estimates, could have saved considerably by letting go of its bus operations already at that point in time.
Koiviston Auto employs a total of 1,400 people, operates 700 buses and coaches, and reported net sales of 110 million euros in 2014. It currently operates no bus services in inner Helsinki.
Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy, in turn, provides employment to 918 people, the vast majority of whom – 820 – are employed as bus drivers. The employees will move onto the payroll of Koiviston Auto as old employees.
The City of Helsinki has explored the option of offloading its loss-making bus operator before. In 2012, for example, it initiated talks with Pohjolan Liikenne, a bus and coach operator owned by the state-controlled VR, over the acquisition of Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy.
Joonas Laitinen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Miikka Pirinen