Trailmaker customer CapMan Infra acquires Finland’s leading bus operator

CapMan Infra acquired Finland’s largest bus operator Koiviston Auto in February 2022. The acquisition will lead to rapid electrification of the bus operator’s fleet. Trailmaker’s strategy execution concept was executed in the entry phase to ensure an immediate change of pace and direction.

CapMan Infra is a Nordic infrastructure investor with approximately €500 million in assets under management. The private equity expert invests in energy, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure across the Nordics.

2021 saw the purchase of Koiviston Auto, a Finnish bus company in operation since 1928. The family-owned business is the largest bus operator in Finland with a national network of depots and routes, employing over 2,000 people. Turnover in 2020 was around 175 million euros and the transport operator owned a fleet of around 1,000 buses.

Koiviston Auto has two distinct business segments: contract and market-based bus transport. Ville Poukka, CapMan Infra Managing Partner, says that the contract-based urban bus transportation business was particularly attractive.

“We’ve found the contracted public transportation market to be very interesting in the sense that our assets, such as Koiviston Auto, own critical infrastructure and operate them with long-term contracts.

“On the back of the success we’ve had with Norwegian ferry operator Norled, we’ve looked at the bus transportation market across the Nordics. Koiviston Auto was particularly interesting for us because they owned a large fleet of 1000 buses.

“That’s a large asset base and it’s underpinned by inflation-protected and long-term-capacity-based contracts with public transportation authorities.” In the case of Koiviston Auto, the contract-based business represents around 80% of group revenues.

Tailor-made approach to Koiviston Auto helped by Trailmaker’s expertise

CapMan, says Ville Poukka is an “active owner”, which led to the Nordic investment house requesting the support of Trailmaker immediately after the acquisition of Koiviston Auto. “We are looking at a pace change in the company,” he says, “to bring it to a new level and continue the growth.”

“At CapMan, we worked with Trailmaker before and we knew we were dealing with similar levels of complexity. We wanted to get a handle on the situation and understand Koiviston Auto’s capabilities as quickly as possible to ensure a smooth takeover.

“That’s why we brought Trailmaker in at the entry phase because it’s important to start the work early. Trailmaker is a tool to speed up the process of strategy execution and help get ‘buy in’.

“You’re moving from a ‘business as usual’ situation to driving value and thinking about performance and delivery much more carefully.

“Finding a common strategic view and pushing that change is ongoing, but Trailmaker has helped us establish the initial common view and understand what we agree and disagree on.”

Above all, says Ville Poukka, different types of investment cases require different approaches and CapMan Infra tailors their approach to the asset after the takeover. “Trailmaker helped ensure we took the right approach,” he says.

TRAILMAKER is a concept for faster strategy execution:

• Concrete common view and commitment

• Identified capability needs

• Visibility