FirstGroup’s Greyhound gets $84m Covid relief

Aberdeen-based transport group FirstGroup plc announced that its Greyhound bus subsidiary has been awarded an initial funding grant of $84.6 million from the first tranche of the US Department of the Treasury’s Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) scheme.

FirstGroup said Greyhound remains non-core to the group and it continues to pursue all exit options for the business with sale discussions ongoing.

“The Treasury has also advised that Greyhound will be eligible for a further award under the second tranche of CERTS funding, which is expected to be approximately a fifth of the size of the first,” said FirstGroup.

“The CERTS scheme is intended to support a range of transportation service providers affected by the coronavirus pandemic and is likely to result in an increase to service provision across the motor coach industry in the US.

“Greyhound is the largest operator of scheduled intercity coaches in the US and has continued to provide these important services throughout the pandemic, maintaining the integrity of its network.

“In line with the terms of the CERTS scheme, these funds must be used in the next twelve months.

“The funds may only be utilised in the Greyhound business in the US, with 60% of the grant required to be spent on ongoing qualifying payroll costs.

“The balance may also be used for operating, maintenance and other costs.

“In addition to the second tranche of CERTS funding which the Treasury expects to allocate shortly, Greyhound also remains eligible to receive further funding from other US federal schemes such as the CARES Act (which makes funds available to state agencies to maintain operation of intercity rural bus services during the pandemic), and the American Rescue Plan (which serves to mitigate losses arising from the beginning of the pandemic until the award of CERTS funding).”