By Marcus Leach

National Express has today (Tuesday) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Petermann Partners, Inc. - the fifth largest provider of student bus services in the US - for $200m (£127m).

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Petermann is the market leader in its home state and has further operations across 10 states in the Midwest, West, and Southwest.

Petermann operates out of 66 locations with 3,351 vehicles in its fleet. For the fiscal year ending 30 June 2011, Petermann generated revenue of $149.9 million.

"We are delighted to acquire such a high quality business in Petermann," Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive of National Express, said.

"Our recent improved performance has enabled us to take advantage of this opportunity. It's a great strategic fit for our existing school bus business, complementing our current operations, introducing us to new states and giving us a foothold in the paratransit market. This is an important step in delivering our strategy of growth in North America."

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