By Scott Wright

SHAREHOLDERS in FirstGroup have voted in favour of the proposed sale of two of its major US businesses – but the poll was far from unanimous.

The proposed sale of First Student and First Transit to private equity company EQT Infrastructure for $4.6 billion (£3.3bn) received 61.3 per cent of voted shares at a general meeting.

The deal is expected to go through in the second half of the calendar year.

Chairman David Martin acknowledged the proposal had not been backed by all shareholders.

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He said: “We welcome the support of shareholders in approving the sale of First Student and First Transit. Through this transaction, FirstGroup will return value to shareholders, address its long-standing liabilities and make a substantial contribution to its pension schemes.

"I and the whole Board take very seriously our responsibility to understand the different views and perspectives of investors, and recognise that a number of shareholders did not vote in favour of today’s resolution. As FirstGroup enters a new and exciting phase in its development, I look forward to continuing an open and constructive dialogue with all shareholders.”

Shares closed down 0.5p at 86p.