ComfortDelGro to propel CMAC global expansion after £80 million takeover

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Singapore-based transport giant ComfortDelGro has acquired ground transport management specialist CMAC Group for £80 million. The deal has been done through ComfortDelGro’s wholly-owned subsidiary CityFleet Networks, and is expected to drive CMAC’s expansion into mainland Europe.

As well as the UK, CMAC has operations in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands, handling disruptions and journeys on behalf of airlines, ground handlers, train operators, and corporate clients.

ComfortDelGro chairman Mark Greaves said: “The acquisition of CMAC means we not only achieve a meaningful expansion of our footprint in the UK and entry into several new countries in Europe but also acquire an extensive network of transport operators, strengthening our point-to-point transport solutions as well as growing our customer base.”

Most of the existing CMAC management team is staying with the business, including managing director and co-founder Peter Slater, though the other founder, Steve Turner, has decided to leave.

Slater said the two companies had been in discussions since October 2022. The deal would allow CMAC’s expansion to reach the next level. “To carry on our growth in Europe we needed some more firepower and backing.”

Slater said Comfort DelGro was a better option than private equity funding. “We didn’t want people who didn’t understand the industry and only brought money to the table,” he said. “ComfortDelGro has knowledge of the industry and is interested in CMAC as it is, but in more and new territories.”

ComfortDelGro does have a number of taxi operations in the UK, including ComCab in Aberdeen and Liverpool, Argyle Satellite Cars in Birkenhead and King Cabs in Chester.

But Slater said CMAC would not be favouring these companies over other suppliers. “One part of the deal is that supplier selection criteria will not change at all – we need to be independent, and we’ll need as many supplies as before.”

He added that CMAC was already dealing with the Comfort Delgro subsidiaries in any case, and noted there were long-established links between Argyle Satellite Cars and CMAC, as the operator once owned CabFind, which CMAC acquired in 2018.

As well as Europe, Slater believes there are opportunities for CMAC to provide a service in other countries where ComfortDelGro operates, which includes China, Australia and New Zealand as well as Singapore. Worldwide, ComfortDelGro owns a fleet of 34,000 taxis. “Australia wasn’t on our original 5-year plan, but now it might move up the pecking order,” Slater said.