MILAN (Reuters) - Ferrovie dello Stato said on Thursday its Busitalia bus unit had signed a preliminary agreement to buy Dutch rival Qbuzz as the Italian rail group presses on with plans to expand abroad.
Ferrovie posted a record net profit of 772 million euros for 2016, up 66 percent from a year earlier, as revenues rose 4 percent to nearly 9 billion euros (7.73 billion pounds).
Sources told Reuters last month that Nomura was advising Ferrovie on a possible stock market listing.
With a fleet of 614 buses and 26 trams, Qbuzz manages public transportation in the metropolitan area of Utrecht and the province of Groningen-Drenthe.
It carries on average 160,000 passengers a day and has an annual turnover of around 190 million euros.
"The purchase of Qbuzz fits with the FS Group's process of internationalisation," Ferrovie dello Stato said in a statement which contained no financial detail for the accord.
In January, the Italian railways bought Greek rail company TRAINOSE for 45 million euros.
Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle