SBS Transit reports higher net profit but posts losses in bus and rail operations

SBS Transit buses at the Toa Payoh bus interchange. SBS Transit made losses in both bus and rail operations but still managed to post a 16.8 per cent rise in first quarter net profit to $3.3 million, thanks to tax credit recognised. -- ST PHOTO:
SBS Transit buses at the Toa Payoh bus interchange. SBS Transit made losses in both bus and rail operations but still managed to post a 16.8 per cent rise in first quarter net profit to $3.3 million, thanks to tax credit recognised. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SBS Transit made losses in both bus and rail operations but still managed to post a 16.8 per cent rise in first quarter net profit to $3.3 million, thanks to tax credit recognised.

Group operating profit fell by 2.6 per cent to $4.9 million while net income from investment slipped by 12.2 per cent to $100,000.

Pretax profit was 6.3 per cent lower at $3.9 million.

Revenue for the three months to March 31 rose by 8.8 per cent to $222.8 million.

Revenue from bus operations climbed by 7.2 per cent to $165.9 million, due to the increase in average daily ridership of 4.1 per cent and an increase in other operating income, offset by a fall in average fare.

SBS posted an operating loss of $4.7 million, an improvement from a loss of $5.4 million previously. This was due mainly to higher bus revenue, offset by higher staff costs, fuel cost, depreciation, repairs and maintenance costs, and other operating expenses.

Revenue from rail operations jumped by 18 per cent to $42.1 million, due to the commencement of Downtown Line (DTL) 1 operations, increase in average daily ridership and an increase in average fare.

Average daily ridership for the North-East Line grew by 6.2 per cent to 500,000 passenger trips and the two Light Rail Transit systems went up by 10.7 per cent to 84,000 passenger trips from the same period last year.

Average daily ridership for DTL 1 was 54,000 passenger trips.

Nonetheless, rail operations incurred an operating loss of $1 million, reversing from a profit of $400,000, due mainly to the DTL 1, higher staff costs, repairs and maintenance costs, premises costs and electricity cost, offset by higher rail revenue.

Revenue from advertisement business eased to $9.5 million from $9.6 million previously.

Operating profit inched up 2 per cent to $6.5 million, due mainly to lower advertising expenses.

Revenue from rental business increased by 11.2 per cent to $5.3 million, due mainly to higher rental from new shops and renewals.

Consequently, operating profit rose by 12.2 per cent to $3.7 million.

Earnings per share firmed to 1.07 cents from 0.92 cent previously while net asset value per share stood at $1.12.

Looking ahead, SBS said bus ridership is expected to increase at a slower rate but rail ridership is expected to experience higher growth with the opening of DTL 1.

Advertising and rental revenue are expected to increase due to the opening of six new DTL 1 stations.

With the renewal and expansion of the bus fleet, depreciation and financing costs are expected to increase.

The outlook for bus and rail operations will continue to be challenging, it warned.

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