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Okinawa bus operators try to survive by merger

Date Posted: 2002-06-23

Four separate bus companies, all of which are operating in red, currently handle public transportation in Okinawa. What’s worse, they have been bleeding for the last ten years or more. In the past, several remedies have been suggested but to no avail.

The latest plan calls for establishing a new company that would purchase the assets of all existing four companies. The new company would then streamline the operations by eliminating functions that overlap. Management and maintenance costs would also be lower.

The stumbling block so far has been money. The new company, headed by Tamio Higa, the former president of AU Okinawa, has offered ¥10 billion for the assets of the four companies, but the four companies are asking ¥12.8 billion.

At a meeting Tuesday, the new company increased their offer to ¥10.3 billion and said that that would be their last offer. Representatives from the bus companies requested time to study the offer, but Higa reminded them that time is of essence, and the offer would not last forever.

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