Sale returns Temsa to original owner

Temsa has been sold for the second time in a year, with the company’s original owner, Sabanci Holding, joining with Dutch firm PPF Group to buy back the Turkish bus manufacturer for $30.8 million.

Sabanci, which founded Temsa in 1968 and sold it last May to a Swiss investment company for $64 million, and PPF Group subsidiary Skoda Transportation will each own 50% of the bus maker.

Skoda Transportation is a Czech engineering firm that is among the world’s largest manufacturers of trams and propulsion units for trolley buses and a regional producer of railway vehicles.

Turbulent period

The sale, subject to regulatory approval, is the latest twist in what has been a turbulent period for Temsa. Sabanci sold Temsa in May 2019 to little-known Swiss investment firm True Value Capital Partners. Then, in December, the new owner ran into problems when a financial dispute with its banks resulted in a temporary pause in production at its bus factory in Adana, Turkey.

Temsa, which has been selling motorcoaches in the United States for 10 years, also has been involved in a legal dispute with its former U.S. distributor, CH Bus Sales. The company terminated its distribution contract with CH Bus in 2018 and launched Temsa North America Inc. to handle its own sales, service and parts operations in the U.S. and Canada.

Deniz Cetin

Since then, the company has opened locations in Florida, New Jersey and California, and has built a team of sales reps covering all areas of the country.

“We’re not quite where we want to be yet, but we’ve been doing a good job,” Deniz Cetin, country manager for Temsa North America, said in January during the United Motorcoach Association’s Motorcoach Expo in Nashville. “We had a lot of challenges in 2019 as we focused on rebuilding our operations. 2020 will be when we really start competing in the coach market.”

Two months later, however, the coronavirus pandemic threw the entire motorcoach industry into a tailspin.

Stabilize, strengthen

Cetin said last week that the sale of Temsa would stabilize and strengthen the company, which manufactures 4,000 buses a year for sale in nearly 70 countries. 

Temsa’s new owners will be two giants,” he said. Accordingly, this transition will strengthen Temsa’s position in all its markets. This strong partnership will definitely enhance Temsa North America’s abilities to support its valuable customers.”

One such customer, David Benedict of David Tours in Philadelphia, has owned Temsa motorcoaches since 2013 and recently replaced his older models with 10 2019 and 2020 coaches. Benedict said he has been following Temsa’s ownership situation over the past year but that, for the most part, “customers don’t really see what goes on behind the scenes with the corporate structure.”

Coaches delayed

He did take notice when True Value Capital Partners was undergoing financial problems and the Temsa plant shut down in December. At the time, Benedict was awaiting delivery of three new motorcoaches he had purchased from the company.

“We held off on taking two of the three coaches until the factory reopened,” Benedict said.

Other than that, he has had no issues with Temsa and said the company “has been very involved and responsive to us. It has been business as usual.”  

Related: Temsa keeps U.S. staff working during COVID-19 crisis

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