SMRT posts rare quarterly loss; cuts final dividend to one cent a share

TRANSPORT operator SMRT Corp incurred a rare net loss of $12 million for the fourth quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $13.9 million for the corresponding period a year ago.

For the full year, the Temasek-owned group's after-tax profit shrank by 30.6 per cent to a 10-year low of $83.2 million. This was despite a 5.9 per cent rise in full-year revenue to $1.06 billion.

Chief executive Desmond Kuek attributed the weaker performance to substantially higher costs, including salary adjustments for bus drivers and higher repair and maintenance expenditure for its rail network.

Repairs and maintenance costs soared by 32.7 per cent to $112.5 million for the year. There was also a $17.3 million impairment in its interest in Chinese associate Shenzhen Zona, and a $21.7 million impairment of goodwill to its bus business.

Loss per share for the fourth quarter stood at 0.8 cent, from an earning of 0.9 cent. Earnings per share for the year fell from 7.9 cents to 5.5 cents.

Net asset value per share slipped to 26.6 cents from 30.3 cents previously.

SMRT is declaring a final dividend of one cent a share, down sharply from 5.7 cents previously.