17/10/2013 - 16:01

European firm makes Hostile acquisition

17/10/2013 - 16:01

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Canning Vale based medical and emergency services provider Hostile Environment Services has stepped up its growth strategy after agreeing to sell 55 per cent of its business to Europe's largest private ambulance service provider, Falck.

European firm makes Hostile acquisition

Canning Vale-based medical and emergency services provider Hostile Environment Services has stepped up its growth strategy after agreeing to sell 55 per cent of its business to Europe's largest private ambulance service provider, Falck.

HES owners Jonathon Silbert and Paul Bihler will retain 45 per cent of shares and become part of the management of the new Falck company.

HES currently employs 125 people across Australia and Papua New Guinea and has 54 ambulances and emergency response vehicles and 16 mobile medical clinics.

Falck is based in Denmark and employs more than 30,000 people worldwide in ambulance and fire services, safety training, and healthcare.

HES is one of a handful of larger businesses that subcontract medical staff such as doctors, nurses, paramedics and physiotherapists to remote mine and oil and gas sites in Western Australia, including St John Ambulance, Dynamiq, and Kinetic Health.

There are also a number of much smaller service providers.

Falck vice president Hans Jensen said it approached HES three years ago because it wanted to expand in the Asia-Pacific region where it currently has 113 employees in safety training across Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

"We were looking for opportunities in this part of the world, we did some homework and came across HES," Mr Jensen said.

"We always look for quality, so we did do quite a bit of homework and decided that HES should be our target."

Mr Silbert said HES had also been looking to grow its business.

"HES is 12 years old and this year Falck is 107 years old with an amazing track record of performance. We made a decision to look globally to continue to grow within our region," Mr Silbert said.

Mr Jensen said Falck was now looking at sharing knowledge between Australia and its Chilean branch, which also provides medical and emergency services to the mining sector.

"To service the mining industry is new for us. We have a lot of experience in oil and gas, but we decided to start focusing on the mining industry," Mr Jensen said.

To that end Falck bought into the Chilean market one and a half years ago and since then has grown its presence there from 20 employees to 60.

Mr Jensen and Mr Silbert said Falck had no plans to expand its Australian operations to include services outside of the industrial sector, focusing instead on maintaining its business in the mining sector and tendering for more contracts in the oil and gas sector.

"We're looking at continuous and steady growth," Mr Silbert said.

"Our philosophy is yes we are a global group, we cannot deny that, but we want to be seen as a local company, and that's very important for us," Mr Jensen said.

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