ALEXANDER Dennis has been sold to North America’s biggest bus and coach manufacturer for £320 million, with the deal likely to trigger a huge windfall for Stagecoach co-founders Ann Gloag and Sir Brian Souter.

The Falkirk-based bus maker, which employs around 2,500 staff, has been acquired by Toronto-listed NFI Group on a cash-free, debt-free basis. The deal is likely to prompt a massive pay-out for Sir Brian and his sister Ms Gloag, who between them held a 55 per cent stake in Dennis through their HGT Investments vehicles. Nobel Grossart Investments held a 33.3 per cent stake.

Sir Brian and Ms Gloag were part of the consortium, alongside Sir Angus Grossart and former Rangers owner Sir David Murray, who rescued the company in 2004, after it had become caught up in the administration of former parent Transbus.

Alexander Dennis chief executive Colin Robertson, who has been appointed to lead the NFI operation in Scotland, said: “This is an exciting day for our company and people. We can be proud of the transformation of our company from a traditional UK bus builder to a global leader with annual revenue in 2018 exceeding £630m.

“We look forward to becoming an important part of NFI while retaining our identity. This partnership is a complementary fit for both parties, allowing sharing of best practice and technology development, to form one of the largest independent bus and coach manufacturers in the world.”