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Pegasus Transportation grows beyond bus service, open to private capital

From right to left, Pegasus Transportation owners Fernando Menezes and Claudia Menezes, along with their daughter Fernanda Vanetta, the company's chief financial officer.
From right to left, Pegasus Transportation owners Fernando Menezes and Claudia Menezes, along with their daughter Fernanda Vanetta, the company's chief financial officer. (provided)

Private bus company Pegasus Transportation has grown over the past decade-plus from a small family operation with a handful of vans to one of Orlando's three largest charter operators and a one-stop-shop tour coordinator, with more than 30 buses and $25 million a year in revenue.

The company may now seek new industrial property for its expanding fleet, and could offer up to a 50 percent stake to private investors this year if a $8 million to $12 million capital injection were brought to the table, chief financial officer Fernanda Vanetta told GrowthSpotter.

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"There are definitely some new segments of the business that could grow faster if we had a capital injection," Vanetta said. "It would all depend on what percentage of ownership would be sought by an interested party. For an offer of up to $12 million, we could make available up to 50 percent of the company, based on our last valuation."

Pegasus generated $25 million in revenue in 2014, up 10 percent from the year prior, and has averaged around 15 percent growth annually over the past five years, according to the company's owners. Half of Pegasus' annual business comes from international tour groups, and 70 percent of that is from Brazil.

Pegasus invested $2 million last year with five new buses, expanding its fleet of 61-seat passenger buses to 30. It spent another $300,000 on the development of a custom B2B software and booking engine named "WINGS," which Pegasus trademarked and stands for "Web Integrated Network Group Services."

Pegasus is now positioned as a complete destination booking specialist, offering volume discounts to tour operators and the ability to purchase lodging, park and event tickets, in addition to transportation. The WINGS software, available as a secure app for tour group guides and managers, allows itinerary management, real-time GPS tracking of assigned buses, and boarding confirmation for each passenger.

The company also invested in a customer relations management system last year that is helping better organize staff follow-up on sales leads. Revenue for the first quarter of this year was up 25 percent from Q1 2014, leading Vice President Claudia Menezes to project up to 20 percent growth for 2015, thanks to better follow-through on sales leads.

Pegasus' buses are equipped with WiFi, but the company is retrofitting all buses this year with power outlets at each seat. They have no plans to acquire new buses this year but instead to boost ancillary, tour-related product sales.

The company's founding couple of Claudia and Fernando Menezes are its loan stakeholders, and Pegasus carries minimal debt on a handful of newer buses and real estate, Claudia said.

One of Pegasus' next areas of investment is a proprietary B2B-style booking site that be used by travel agencies in other countries. With it, the company could sell Orlando travel packages directly to individuals, using travel agents as intermediaries to handle the complex, parceled payment plans that are common in countries like Brazil, Vanetta said.

Expansion could come more rapidly in the future if Pegasus could find a larger industrial property to relocate the business. The company acquired its two-acre industrial-zoned property four years ago on Rocket Boulevard in South Orlando and built a 6,000-square-foot corporate office there, expecting to occupy 60 percent of the site.

But rapid growth of its bus fleet now has Pegasus covering every inch of the property. It's an ideal location directly between major highways, the airport, parks and shopping malls.

The Menezes have not been able to find a larger property that's zoned industrial for its bus fleet that isn't located in undesirable areas such as the extreme north or east of Orange County.

"We could be interested in a new property if it met our location needs," Claudia said.

bmoser@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5685

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