Higher revenue and lower fuel costs helped lift SBS Transit's net profit for the full year ended Dec 31 by 17 per cent to $16.7 million.
Revenue grew 7.7 per cent year- on-year to $1.02 billion as revenues from both its bus and rail segments were higher.
Its bus segment saw a 7.5 per cent increase in revenue to $810.5 million due to increases in average daily ridership, average fare and other operating income. Average daily ridership was up 2.8 per cent to 2.8 million passenger trips last year.
Operating profit from the bus segment surged 78.2 per cent to $22 million last year from a year ago, while that of the rail segment plunged nearly 62 per cent to $3.2 million due to higher staff costs, higher premise costs and other operating costs.
Revenue for the rail segment jumped 8.3 per cent to $213.4 million due to the increases in average daily ridership and average fare. For last year, average daily ridership for the North-East Line grew 4.6 per cent to 537,000 passenger trips while that of the Light Rail Transit jumped 14.1 per cent to 99,000 trips. Ridership for the Downtown Line Stage 1 surged 23.5 per cent to 76,000 trips.
Earnings per share was 5.41 cents, up from 4.62 cents, while net asset value rose to $1.10, as of Dec 31 last year, from $1 a year ago.
The company proposed a final dividend of 1.05 cents.
AT A GLANCE
REVENUE: $1.02 billion (+7.7%)
NET PROFIT: $16.7 million (+17%)
DIVIDEND: 1.05 cents (unchanged)
For the quarter, total operating costs rose 7.4 per cent to $998.8 million, due to higher staff costs, higher depreciation expenses, repairs and maintenance costs, and other operating costs.
The group's total assets fell 7.5 per cent to $1.1 billion due to a drop in non-current assets from the disposal of buses and a drop in prepayments for new buses.
As of Dec 31 last year, the group had cash and bank balances of $4.4 million.
Looking ahead, SBS Transit said revenue is expected to rise with growing ridership from the commencement of Downtown Line 2.
It said its bus and rail segments will continue to face challenges.
Operating expenses for the rail segment are expected to continue to increase, with more repairs and maintenance to be carried out.
Staff costs are expected to be higher, with headcount increases for the Bus Service Enhancement Programme and Downtown Line 2. Rolled out in 2012, the scheme was a response to burgeoning demand from a fast-growing population that the two publicly listed transport firms, SBS Transit and SMRT, were not able to cope with on their own.
SBS shares closed at $1.99 yesterday, down 0.5 per cent or one cent.