Allied Work Force Group's big plans for the healthcare sector

Listed company Allied Work Force Group is expanding its operations in to healthcare.The company, which became a public company and listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2005, has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire specialist healthcare provider Panacea Healthcare Limited.Panacea has provided ACC funded home and community support services certified care for the disabled and elderly and companionship and nursing services in the Auckland and Central North Island areas for the past three decades.

Listed company Allied Work Force Group is expanding its operations in to healthcare.

The company, which became a public company and listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2005, has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire specialist healthcare provider Panacea Healthcare Limited.

Panacea has provided ACC funded home and community support services certified care for the disabled and elderly and companionship and nursing services in the Auckland and Central North Island areas for the past three decades.

Allied Work Force Group (AWF) managing director Simon Hull told the National Business Review, AWF, which he founded in 1988, has been looking for “the right” partnership within the sector for between 18 months and two years.

“We’ve picked a player that has been in the industry for a long long time, is hugely respected and has extremely high leading standards in the sector that we can take in and learn from and hopefully help that business maybe take some other opportunities.”

Mr Hull said the specialised niche Panacea is in, is destined for “significant” growth with hospital care being “extremely expensive on the per bed basis”.

“This is what’s identified in the number of reports as a way of having more effective spend of the health dollar – which is inevitable – as our population ages and technology continuos to improve.”

Disability services, receiving $99.8m, was one of the areas that enjoyed the biggest boost in the budget.

The increase in spending on disability services included $25.5m for home and community support services, $21m for residential services for the intellectually disabled and $7.9m for supported living.

Mr Hull said with the country’s aging population the demand for healthcare and particularly services such as Panacea provides will increase by approximately 70% over the next 10 to 15 years.

While this shift will present significant opportunities for future growth for the company, it represents major challenges, including accommodating this skyrocketing growth with high quality trained staff.

While AWF is acquiring 100% of Panacea it will operate as a partnership with the existing management.

Managing director of Panacea, Trish Neal, who is also its major shareholder, said the structure proposed ensures the same high standards Panacea is recognised for will be maintained.

“The partnership with AWF future proofs Panacea against pressures to find staff as demand grows from both an aging population and an aging healthcare workforce.

“With our operational systems remaining in place it will really be business as usual.”

A further announcement will be made when the conditions of the sale have been met. Mr Hull said it is likely to take between a couple of days to a couple of weeks.