© Reuters. Greyhound buses are lined up in New York City

(Reuters) – Train and bus operator FirstGroup said on Thursday it would sell U.S. coach service Greyhound and look to separate off its UK First Bus operations as it seeks to head off pressure from major investors for returns.

The company, which reported a smaller loss for 2018 but has been facing demands from its second largest shareholder for strategic changes, also signaled it was not happy with the balance of risk and reward of its UK rail operations and would think carefully before taking on further franchises.

It has been the owner of Greyhound since 2007 and had already launched a review of the service earlier this year while withdrawing from Western Canada.

Greyhound is the only operator of scheduled intercity coaches in North America and carries around 17 million passengers a year.

“Greyhound has limited synergies with our other, predominantly contract-based, North American businesses and we believe that value for shareholders can best be delivered by seeking new owners,” the company said.

The company, also a familiar name for millions of British travelers, said it had “reduced expectations” for its two most recently awarded rail franchises.

“Any future commitments to UK rail will need to have an appropriate balance of potential risks and rewards for our shareholders,” the company said.

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2019-05-29