ComfortDelGro expands into non-emergency patient transport services in Australia

ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited is expanding into the non-emergency patient transportation business through an A$30 million (approximately S$30.2 million) acquisition Down Under.

The purchase of all the shares in National Patient Transport Pty Ltd (NPT), which is one of the largest private providers of non-emergency patient transport services in Australia, will enable ComfortDelGro to broaden its competency beyond its existing businesses of bus, taxi, rail, automotive engineering, inspection and testing, driving centre, car rental and leasing, bus station, insurance broking as well as outdoor advertising services. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

Operating in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia – three states which ComfortDelGro already has a strong presence – NPT offers a range of healthcare transport services to major metropolitan hospital networks including walker, hoist and stretcher transport services and specialist services for high acuity and complex patients. NPT also operates a registered training organisation that is qualified to deliver and assess a range of non-emergency healthcare transport, first aid and resuscitation courses in Australia.

ComfortDelGro Managing Director/Group CEO, Mr Yang Ban Seng, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to expand into an adjacent area of land transport services. It enables us to leverage on our core capabilities in contract, fleet and manpower management whilst broadening our breadth of skills. The non-emergency patient transport business is experiencing strong growth and one that shows great potential with ageing populations in much of the developed world. With this acquisition, we will be able to use our newly acquired skills set to explore similar opportunities in other geographies.”

According to a 2016 IBISWorld industry report, the Australian patient transport industry is worth approximately A$3.5 billion annually, with expected revenue growth of 3 to 4%.

With a current fleet of 144 vehicles, NPT is the leading private operator of such services. It was set up in 1993 – the same year the Victoria Government separated non-emergency ambulance transport services from emergency ambulance transport services. It was one of the first private operators to be awarded a contract.

ComfortDelGro, which recently celebrated its 15th Anniversary, has been operating in Australia since 2005, runs public scheduled bus services in New South Wales and Victoria, as well as taxi services in Western Australia. It is currently one of the world’s largest land transport businesses with operations in seven countries – Singapore, Australia, the UK, China, Ireland, Vietnam and Malaysia. It operates a broad range of land transport services with a fleet of over 42,000 and has staff strength of about 22,000 worldwide.

Speaking at the 15th Anniversary Dinner two weeks ago, ComfortDelGro Chairman, Mr Lim Jit Poh, said: “Disruption is taking place all around us, affecting the way we do business. We cannot sit idly by. The most visible change in recent times has, of course, been in the area of ride-hailing apps. But there are even greater changes coming onstream – for example, autonomous vehicles – and we must ensure that we are ahead of the game.”

To commemorate 15 years of existence, 32 buses and taxis in Singapore, as well as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in Australia, have been decorated with a commemorative wrap. These will ply the roads for a month. The Group’s corporate website has also been revamped to provide users with a better navigational experience and greater accessibility to critical data.

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