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ComfortDelGro expands UK presence through £7m taxi operator acquisition

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Singapore taxi operator ComfortDelGro Corporation is expanding its presence in the UK through a £7 million (S$12.5 million) acquisition of the Liverpool City region's third-largest taxi and private-hire operator.

SINGAPORE taxi operator ComfortDelGro Corporation is expanding its presence in the UK through a £7 million (S$12.5 million) acquisition of the Liverpool City region's third-largest taxi and private-hire operator.

The latest buyout brings the group's total UK investment to S$446.6 million, it announced on Tuesday in a regulatory filing.

The group's wholly-owned subsidiary CityFleet Networks is carrying out the acquisition of Argyle Satellite and Argyle Satellite Contract Services, collectively known as AST.

This is being financed through a mix of debt and internal funds and is not expected to have any material impact on the group's net tangible assets per share and earnings per share for the current financial year. 

AST operates across three licensing areas in the Liverpool City region - The Wirral, Liverpool and Cheshire West as well as Chester.

It also recently acquired a licence in the Sefton area which will facilitate growth and add to its overall fleet strength. AST's drivers can operate in any of the areas where it holds private-hire licences.

AST manages more than 700 self-employed drivers on its circuit and also handles 200 active corporate accounts. This will complement CityFleet's existing 400-taxi operation in Liverpool, the group said.

In the UK, on top of taxi and private-hire operations, ComfortDelGro operates a fleet of some 3,000 radio taxis in London and Aberdeen.

Wholly-owned subsidiary Metroline is the third-largest public bus operator in London with a fleet of nearly 1,600 buses, the group said. 

The group's executive coach subsidiary, Westbus Coach Services, also provides executive coach services across the UK and mainland Europe. Through its 65 per cent-owned Scottish Citylink Coaches subsidiary, the group operates close to 100 coaches linking all the major towns in Scotland. It also offers cross-border services via Manchester and Newcastle.

ComfortDelGro shares closed at S$1.81 on Monday, down S$0.12 or 6.2 per cent.