With Keolis, the SNCF launches in the ambulance

The will of growth of Keolis brings the subsidiary 70% of the SNCF (the rest of the capital belongs to the Caisse des dépôts du Québec) to explore new territories that are outside its core business, the world of urban and interurban transport of the day. After being launched last year in the transport vehicles with driver (VTC) in the face of Uber in taking control of The Cab, Keolis launches today in the transportation of persons in need of medical care (medical transportation), which is carried out by ambulances for transporting said elongated, and, for the “transport sitting professionalized,” by hospital car or taxi chartered by the primary sickness insurance Fund. A market of 4 billion euros in France, with growth of 3.5% per year in recent years because of the aging of the population.

“This weighs as much as our main business, which is the urban transport in France”, pointed out this Wednesday, Jean-Pierre Farandou, the CEO of Keolis, in a meeting with the press.

The market’s number one

Keolis tumbles in this market is atomized (it is composed of 55,000 companies) in buying up the numbers one and two in the sector, the networks, Full and Douillard, to create Keolis Health, which becomes the de facto number 1 in the sector of medical transport with 70 million euros of turnover, a size 100 times greater than the industry average.

Owned up to 51% by Keolis to the sides of the bosses, Integral, and Douillard (24.5% each), Keolis Health intends to double in size by 2021 to reach this horizon 175 million euros of turnover.

“There will be some organic growth, but acquisitions will be the main engine of this growth,” explained Jean-Pierre Farandou, which considers Keolis Health as well as the “pioneer of the consolidation” in the sector “growth” which “can be optimized in terms of quality and efficiency” not only for patients but also for public expenditure.

“One of our ambitions is to contribute to this efficiency in the chain of care. This sector is complex to organize at the national level given the number of companies. As a pioneer of the consolidation, if there are reflections to be carried out in terms of efficiency (…), we are open for discussion. Many improvements can be made,” explained his side Laurent Kocher, executive director, marketing, innovation and services, Keolis, which has initiated and carried out the project of creation of Keolis Health.


For Keolis, the question of the pooling of means is central.

“Sharing is the best way of optimization. It is the organisation of the sharing of vehicles, which is the major lever for efficiency for public power,” said Jean-Pierre Farandou. That is to say, “have less races to empty and more people in the vehicles,” said Laurent Kocher.

This may have the consequence of calling into question the free choice of the transport company by the patient. A point which will also serve as one of the factors of consolidation.

“It can only accelerate if the health care organizations themselves decide on the organisation of the fleets. This will lead to calls for tenders involving large volumes and the big players will be more suitable to respond to it. This motion is under discussion,” explained Jean-Pierre Farandou.

There are others, such as the homogenization of the charges on the transport sitting which is different from the taxis and VSL.

Markets contracted

Keolis does not happen in the medical transport in an unknown land. The group is fully aware of the workings of these markets are “fixed” because of the relationships that the company maintains with major donors to public order, even if these are different from those they co-exist in urban transport because it is in the medical transport of the primary sickness insurance fund, the regional agencies of health and hospitals, according to the different modalities of transport.

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