KKR to buy Ritchies Transport in first New Zealand infrastructure bet

U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) will purchase Ritchies Transport, one of New Zealand’s largest bus companies, marking its first infrastructure investment in the island nation.

The companies did not disclose the deal value, although they said KKR made the investment through its Asia-Pacific infrastructure fund.

Buses offer a “highly visible opportunity to encourage the adoption of zero-emissions technology,” Andrew Jennings, a director on KKR’s infrastructure team, said, noting the growing demand for greener transport in New Zealand.

He added buses account for 75% of public transport in the island nation. Ritchies has a fleet of more than 1,600 buses with 42 depots.

The Ritchie family that founded the 86-year-old transport provider will continue to hold a stake and lead the company, the joint statement said.

Rothschild & Co was KKR’s financial adviser, while Ritchies was advised by Cameron Partners.