A MULTI-million pound Fareham company known as the south coast's largest coach operator has been bought by National Express after 94 years.

Family-run business Lucketts Travel Group has now handed over ownership to the biggest scheduled national coach network in the UK.

The luxury coach hire group, which employs 350 people and operates Coliseum Coaches, Mortons Travel, Solent Coaches and Worthing Coaches, has provided first class holidays and day trips to tens of thousands of customers every year since 1926.

Although the Lucketts family have now handed over the company to National Express, it will continue to trade under its existing name.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Heritage and Culture Sean Woodward has praised the new purchase.

He said: “Lucketts is a very well-established company which has brought lots of employment to Fareham.

“I’m delighted to see them move onto their next stage. It is very good news indeed.”

Services will continue to run as normal while new owners National Express will be “building upon what Lucketts has developed”.

Director of Lucketts, Ian Luckett, said: “We are delighted that Lucketts Group is joining National Express with whom we have had a strong relationship for many years.

“We know we can trust them to look after what our family built up and we are confident that they will be able to take the business to the next level.”

The value of the purchase has been undisclosed but it is believed to be worth millions.

In 2019, Lucketts Travel Group had a turnover of £25.2m and made £1m profit before tax.

National Express managing director for UK and Germany Tom Stables said: “We already have a strong relationship with Lucketts so know it is a fantastic company with an excellent record of delivering high quality services.

“The acquisition enables us to expand further into the private hire and tours market and we look forward to welcoming all our new colleagues to National Express.”