SMRT to defer planned board renewal

Transport operator SMRT will defer a plan to refresh its board while it tackles a move to a new model focusing on services rather than its infrastructure assets.

Chairman Koh Yong Guan said in its annual report released yesterday: "Board continuity is important at this stage, so we have decided to defer the planned board renewal."

He noted that the firm's transition to the new model would need the board's "closest attention".

The nominating committee has recommended that board members Patrick Ang Peng Koon, Yap Kim Wah, Peter Tan Boon Heng and Moliah Hashim retire.

The report said: "All of them, being eligible for re-election, have offered themselves for re-election."

SMRT will move to the new model, also referred to as the "new rail financing framework", where Mr Koh noted that the firm will become asset light, and "focus on the operations and maintenance of its rail lines".

Mr Koh said: "With fare adjustments not keeping pace with rising operating costs, the sustainability of our rail business will continue to be challenging under the current financing framework."

SMRT has incurred higher operating expenses owing to intensive maintenance and renewal of the ageing network.

It is also running an enlarged train fleet and an extended East-West Line, where the Tuas West Extension will start operating by the end of this year.

Mr Koh said rail operations and maintenance services will remain core to the group's multi-modal transport business.

"We will leverage on this to pursue sustainable business growth based on our experience in rail operations and engineering expertise and services," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'SMRT to defer planned board renewal'. Print Edition | Subscribe