SIR Brian Souter’s family investment company has extended its presence in New Zealand by snapping up a coach firm for an undisclosed sum.

Family owned Reesby Buses, based in Rotorua, was bought by Souter Holdings to add to the company’s existing operations in Auckland and Wellington. David Reesby founded his bus company in 1972 and now specialises in the tourism market with a fleet of 40 buses.

Sir Brian said businesses owned by his investment firm have 340 buses and 17 ferries and now carry around 16 million bus and ferry passengers in New Zealand annually. That encompasses local and long distance bus operations as well as the Auckland based Fuller Group ferry business. In May Sir Brian’s online budget coach service in the country Manabus purchased rival Nakedbus for an undisclosed sum.

Following the Reesby deal Souter Holdings, part of Highland Global Transport which is the transport arm of Souter Investments, is being rebranded in New Zealand as InMotion Group.

Sir Brian said: “With’s acquisition of in May, and now the addition of Reesby, we felt it was time that the Group’s growing transport interests in New Zealand had a separate identity.”

Bill Rae, who previously worked for Stagecoach in New Zealand, is an executive at Souter Holdings and will head the InMotion Group.

He signalled the group, which employs around 700, has plans to invest around NZ$100m over the next three years and is also hoping to win some tenders.

Mr Rae said: “A number of provincial urban services in the North Island are coming up for tender, and we will be looking very closely at all of those opportunities.

“This is all in the context of a capital investment programme across the bus and ferry fleet that will continue to upgrade and extend the Group’s services and improve the experience for our customers. We expect to invest up to $100 million over a three year period.”

A large part of the investment will involve buying two new ferries. InMotion also has plans to refurbish existing buses and buy new ones.

Stagecoach sold its New Zealand operations to Infratil in 2005 for around £100m. Sir Brian re-entered the bus market there in 2009 when Souter Holdings bought Mana Coach Services.

Other companies under the new InMotion umbrella in New Zealand included 360 Discovery Cruises and Howick & Eastern Buses.

Souter Investments owns stakes in companies including bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, flexible plastic packaging maker Suominen and Turkish ferry operator IDO.