By Kath Gannaway
MCKENZIE’S Tourist Services will start its 80th year in new ownership.
Current owner Nelson Smith confirmed last week that he had signed a sale agreement with the Warragul-based Dineen Group.
The sale of the Healesville-based company is expected to be finalised this week.
Dineen Group owner Bill Dineen said his company is a major regional bus operator which runs five bus lines – Warragul, Berwick, Hurstbridge (Panorama), Westernport and Heyfield – and has other transport interests, including Pakenham Taxis.
The sale, for an undisclosed amount, includes 50 buses and property at Healesville, Kew and Alexandra.
Mark Burton of accounting firm Pitcher Partners Consulting Pty Ltd, which managed the sale, said there had been strong interest in the company.
He said there were a number of conditions attached to the sale, the most important being approval of the Director of Public Transport.
He described the Dineen Group as long-standing and well-respected bus operators with a similar approach to McKenzie’s.
“We don’t anticipate any issues with obtaining those approvals,” he told the Mail.
Mr Burton said the company would continue to operate as McKenzie’s Tourist Services and assured there would be no changes to employees’ entitlements or employment conditions.
Bill Dineen told the Mail last week that the purchase was an exciting extension to the company’s regional operations.
He said he started with one bus in Warragul in 1972 and now has 300 buses.
“McKenzie’s sits well with our other businesses,” he said.
“On the Melbourne side it will work in with what we are doing with Sandringham and Diamond Creek (Panorama) and is similar to the type of work we do in government contract work.
“The proud name of McKenzie’s will continue and the company will continue to be run as an independent company,” he said.
He said Brad Sanders would take over from Brian Luscombe who is retiring as manager after 42 years.
Refusing to be drawn on the price, Mr Dineen would only say: “Let’s just say we paid a fair price for a successful and long established business.”
By Kath Gannaway