Quarterly profits jump 75.3% at SBS Transit

SBS Transit enjoyed increased ridership at its rail business during the second quarter, with the Sengkang-Punggol LRT line (above) clocking 119,000 passenger trips, up 6.1 per cent. The company declared an interim dividend of 3.65 cents per share for
SBS Transit enjoyed increased ridership at its rail business during the second quarter, with the Sengkang-Punggol LRT line (above) clocking 119,000 passenger trips, up 6.1 per cent. The company declared an interim dividend of 3.65 cents per share for the quarter, higher than the 2.35 cents declared a year ago.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Rise fuelled by better margins, ridership even though operating costs increased

SBS Transit has posted a whopping 75.3 per cent jump in second-quarter net profit to $12.7 million, fuelled by better margins from the bus contracting model and higher rail ridership.

For the second quarter ended June 30, the ComfortDelGro- owned transport operator reported a 7 per cent jump in revenue to $287.8 million compared with the same period a year ago, helped in part by lower finance costs.

Earnings per share came to 4.09 cents, up from 2.34 cents for the previous corresponding quarter.

The group's net asset value per share was $1.40 as of June 30, up from $1.35 on Dec 31 last year.

An interim dividend of 3.65 cents was declared for the second quarter, up from 2.35 cents a year ago.

For the second quarter, SBS Transit's total operating costs rose 4.7 per cent to $271.6 million, but operating profit surged 68 per cent to $16.2 million.

The largest cost component - staff costs - increased 10 per cent to $153.4 million, while the second-largest - repairs and maintenance - rose 4.1 per cent to $34.5 million. But fuel and electricity costs fell 10.4 per cent to $29.9 million.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • REVENUE: $287.8 million (+7%)

  • NET PROFIT: $12.7 million (+75.3%)

  • DIVIDEND: 3.65 cents per share

Revenue from the operator's public transport services grew 8.4 per cent to $274.4 million for the quarter, from $253.2 million a year ago, boosted by the transition to the bus contracting model and increased ridership for rail services.

For the quarter, average daily ridership for the Downtown Line grew by 14.1 per cent to 242,000 passenger trips.

Average daily ridership for the North-East Line grew by 1.4 per cent to 566,000 passenger trips, while that for the Sengkang-Punggol LRT line increased by 6.1 per cent to 119,000 trips.

The higher ridership helped offset lower average rail fares from the fare reduction that took effect on Dec 30 last year.

Meanwhile, revenue from commercial services slipped 15.3 per cent to $13.4 million mainly because of lower advertising revenue.

SBS Transit expects revenue from public transport services to be higher. Its rail business will continue to see ridership growth, while its bus operations will see a full-year contribution of revenue under the bus contracting model.

Under the model, the Government assumes ownership of all fixed and operating assets, and operators are paid a fixed sum to ply the services.

The company said revenue from non-transit commercial operations is expected to be lower mainly because it lost the Loyang and Bulim bus route packages.

Operating costs will be higher with salary adjustments, while repairs and maintenance costs are also expected to be higher. Downtown Line 3 is expected to start service on Oct 21 this year.

SBS Transit shares closed 0.4 per cent or one cent higher at $2.59, ahead of the release of its results.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2017, with the headline 'Quarterly profits jump 75.3% at SBS Transit'. Print Edition | Subscribe