TRANSPORT firm FirstGroup has confirmed it is selling its bus operations that cover Redditch and Kidderminster.

The firm says the sale of the Worcestershire services is part of a strategy to focus its UK bus operations on areas that offer the greatest potential for growth.

The buyer is Rotala plc, which will take over the Redditch and Kidderminster bus depots, around 36 vehicles and approximately 120 employees.

Giles Fearnley, First UK Bus managing director, said: “Redditch and Kidderminster are businesses where we have previously seen lower than average margins. They are not core to our operations and fit better with Rotala's existing portfolio in the area.

“The sale of these operations marks further progress in disposing of selected assets and businesses as we review the scope and scale of our portfolio and reposition it for the longer term.

"We are progressing our detailed programme to recover performance and equip our UK Bus division to achieve sustainable revenue and patronage growth.

“Today’s decision is therefore a business driven one and does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of the staff in Redditch and Kidderminster. We will be fully supporting them as they transfer to their new employer.”

Birningham-based Rotala said the deal enables it to "expand and consolidate" its position in areas of Worcestershire near its main operation in the Birmingham area.

Among its businesses are Central Connect, North Birmingham Busways, Diamond Bus Company and Ludlows of Halesowen.