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We’ve gath­ered up all the key, hard-hit­ting Aus­tral­asian and in­ter­na­tional bus and coach news to keep you in the loop.

SEEN AS FUR­THER ‘strength­en­ing its foothold in Aus­tralia’, Sin­ga­porean-head­quar­tered Com­fortDelgro has (sub­ject to ap­proval) pur­chased Buslink – Aus­tralia’s largest pri­vately owned bus busi­ness – for AUD$190.9 mil­lion; the Group’s largest ac­qui­si­tion in the coun­try to date.

As the com­pany states, the ac­qui­si­tion of Buslink Pty Ltd, Buslink South­ern Pty Ltd and its 11 cor­re­spond­ing de­pots, is sig­nif­i­cant on two fronts: “It pro­vides Com­fortDelGro [CDC] with im­me­di­ate ac­cess to the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Queens­land – both of which are un­char­tered ter­ri­to­ries for the Group – and en­ables it to grow its ex­ist­ing bus op­er­a­tions in New South Wales (NSW) and Vic­to­ria.”

This pur­chase is also the lat­est in a se­ries of new ac­qui­si­tions un­der­taken by the Group as it, “re-engi­neers it­self, build­ing on ex­ist­ing strengths while ex­pand­ing into new av­enues of growth,” it says.

Chair­man Lim Jit Poh said: “Dis­rup­tion is tak­ing place all around us, af­fect­ing the way we do busi­ness. We can­not sit idly by. Changes are tak­ing place and, with that, come op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“To this end, we have em­barked on a more ag­gres­sive in­vest­ment strat­egy as can be seen from the fact that we have in­vested over S$450 mil­lion [A$452 mil­lion] in the year to-date.

“We have also moved into new re­lated busi­nesses like non-emer­gency pa­tient ser­vices and worked at grow­ing ex­ist­ing rev­enue streams like non-sched­uled bus ser­vices.

“We are also ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in new busi­nesses which lever­age on tech­nol­ogy and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. No stone is left un­turned,” he said.

“This is an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for us to ex­pand into two new states in Aus­tralia.”

ONE OF MANY

Cer­tainly, the lat­est ac­qui­si­tion in Aus­tralia comes hot on the heels of a slew of in­vest­ments around the world, in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore, the United King­dom and China.

CDC manag­ing di­rec­tor and Group CEO Yang Ban Seng said: “This is an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for us to ex­pand into two new states in Aus­tralia and to in­crease our foot­print in NSW and Vic­to­ria.

“With a com­bined fleet of over 2,250 buses now spread across six states and ter­ri­to­ries, Com­fortDelGro will be the largest pri­vate bus op­er­a­tor with a good spread of con­tracts to in­crease our re­silience. Our ex­pe­ri­ence in NSW and Vic­to­ria – where we run ex­ten­sive sched­uled and un­sched­uled bus ser­vices – will stand us in good stead as we em­bark on this, our largest ac­qui­si­tion to-date.”

ABOUT BUSLINK

Set up in 1988 with just three buses, Buslink now op­er­ates in eight lo­ca­tions across four Aus­tralian states and ter­ri­to­ries with a fleet of 401 buses and staff num­ber­ing more than 500. Sig­nif­i­cantly, it is the largest op­er­a­tor in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and a ma­jor ser­vice

provider in Queens­land.

Buslink is the largest pri­vate op­er­a­tor in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, ser­vic­ing prac­ti­cally all of Dar­win’s school ser­vices and ap­prox­i­mately 70 per cent of Dar­win’s ur­ban net­work.

Ac­cord­ing to Tourism NT, Dar­win is Aus­tralia’s se­cond fastest-grow­ing cap­i­tal city with sig­nif­i­cant tourism econ­omy and as­sets, such as the world-fa­mous Kakadu Na­tional Park, Uluru and Kather­ine Gorge.

In ad­di­tion to the op­er­a­tions in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, Buslink also op­er­ates a size­able busi­ness in Queens­land and is based pri­mar­ily on the Sun­shine Coast and Glad­stone.

Its ser­vice of­fer­ings com­prise bus trans­porta­tion for ur­ban, school, spe­cial needs, em­ployee trans­port, and char­ter ser­vices. In NSW, Buslink op­er­ates in Bro­ken Hill, while in Vic­to­ria it runs bus ser­vices in Mil­dura.

DEVIL IN THE DE­TAIL

The deal, which will be con­ducted through wholly owned sub­sidiary, Com­fortDelGro Cor­po­ra­tion Aus­tralia Pty Ltd, is sub­ject to reg­u­la­tory ap­proval.

It comes barely three months af­ter the Group an­nounced an A$110 mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of FCL Hold­ings Pty Lim­ited, which runs For­est Coach Lines in North­ern Syd­ney and re­gional NSW.

The Buslink ac­qui­si­tion marks the Group’s fifth in Aus­tralia this year. Other new ad­di­tions to the Group’s Aus­tralian foot­print are: Na­tional Pa­tient Trans­port Pty Ltd, a non-emer­gency pa­tient trans­porta­tion op­er­a­tor; Tul­la­ma­rine Bus Lines Pty Ltd (TBL) in Vic­to­ria; and Coastal Liner Coaches in outer Syd­ney.

With the lat­est ac­qui­si­tion, Com­fortDelGro – which en­tered the Aus­tralian mar­ket in 2005 – will op­er­ate in six states of Aus­tralia: NSW, Vic­to­ria, Western Aus­tralia, Can­berra, North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Queens­land. It has a fleet of more than 4,200 ve­hi­cles com­pris­ing buses, coaches, taxis and am­bu­lances. It also of­fers out­door ad­ver­tis­ing ser­vices, the com­pany states.

Above: The AUD$190.9 mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion is CDC’s largest pur­chase in the coun­try to date.

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