ANZIO Digital Staff Celebrate As Coach Company Saved

by Maggie Taylor.
Date: 19 March 2012

Staff Celebrate As Coach Company Saved - Lincolnshire Magazine -

A private investor has stepped in to secure the future of A C Williams Coaches, in a move that prompted celebrations by the 25 drivers, mechanics and office staff after learning their jobs were safe.

Coach and bus operator A C Williams was established in 1953, nearly 60 years ago, in Ancaster, as a motor engineer and agricultural machinery repair business, and despite a healthy demand for bookings, its future was threatened following the closure of its sister business in December, the A C Williams Renault car dealership.

Now its future is guaranteed, which is good news for customers who made bookings for future trips and holidays, as deposits will be safe and trips will take place as planned.

Cash and Management Injection

The company, which numbers Harlaxton College, The Red Arrows and football clubs Lincoln City and Boston United among its regular coach customers, has received a cash and management injection from investor Glen Pratt, who wants to save jobs by turning round small family-owned companies. He has plans to build the business through employee profit sharing and the partnership principles which have proved so successful for John Lewis.

As executive chairman of the company, Glen Pratt, age 39, a successful investment fund manager in London, will be keeping not just the A C Williams family name, but the Williams’ family involvement as well, with former directors David Williams and Alison Parker fulfilling non-managerial roles within the company.

The family approach will be expanded further, with financial accountant David Pratt joining his brother Glen on the board as finance director.

The company started out by transporting just three children to school from an outlying farm, but it is now one of the leading providers of school transport in the county, holding major contracts with Lincolnshire County Council, transporting 500 children every day.

It also runs a busy schedule of day trips and holidays, and serves many local colleges, sports clubs and businesses including Norbert Dentressangle, formerly Christian Salvesen. The company’s 20-strong coach and bus fleet covers a wide range of transportation solutions, including state of the art executive coaches, double decker school buses, together with specially modified vehicles which offer tables or wheelchair access.

Set To Expand

Under the new leadership, the company is set to expand and hopes to create more jobs in the local community in coming years.

Said Glen Pratt: “A C Williams is now fully funded for a long term future and the whole team is very excited at the prospect, with many new plans set to go ahead against the secure backing that’s in place. Those plans will build on the values the company is known for - safety, reliability, comfort and value for money.”

Former managing director David Williams said: “I am delighted that jobs will be saved and that the A C Williams name will continue, in what promises to be a bright future for the company.”

Peter Blair, a partner in the Nottingham office of corporate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor, who was appointed joint administrator of A C Williams in December said: “We are pleased to have saved jobs and maintained important services in Lincolnshire. We are grateful for the support and tenacity of the A C Williams staff during difficult circumstances, and that we were able to retain those staff. We wish the new venture every success for the future.”

Glen Pratt added: “It’s a company with a strong heart and has been picking up new work even during the administration period, because people want to deal with A C Williams. There’s a real sense of goodwill. The entire team is looking forward to serving the people of Lincolnshire. ”

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