ComfortDelGro's Q1 profit rises 8.6% to $73.4m

Buses and taxis contributed to the bulk of ComfortDelGro's earnings. Buses posted an operating profit of $36.6 million, while taxis contributed $38.5 million - 3.7 per cent and 5.2 per cent higher respectively.
Buses and taxis contributed to the bulk of ComfortDelGro's earnings. Buses posted an operating profit of $36.6 million, while taxis contributed $38.5 million - 3.7 per cent and 5.2 per cent higher respectively.ST FILE PHOTO

Transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp raked in $73.4 million in net earnings for its first quarter ended March 31, 8.6 per cent more than previously.

The Singapore-based global operator of buses, trains and taxis would have made more if not for foreign exchange losses arising from the weaker sterling pound, Australian dollar and Chinese yuan.

If not for these losses, the group said its revenue of $995.6 million - representing a growth of 3.3 per cent - would have been $10.9 million higher.

By the same token, it saved $9.5 million in operating expenses because of the forex factor. Operating cost crept up by 3 per cent to $886.2 million.

Hence ComfortDelGro's bottom line would have been closer to $90 million if not for the devalued currencies in its overseas markets.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • NET PROFIT: $73.4 million (+8.6%)

    OPERATING PROFIT: $109.4 million (+6.1%)

    REVENUE: $995.6 million (+3.3%)

Earnings per share stood at 3.41 cents, up from 3.16 previously. Net asset value per share stood at 110.42 cents, up from 108.6.

Its operating margin before interest, tax and depreciation improved slightly to 20.6 per cent, from 20.2.

Buses and taxis again contributed to the bulk of ComfortDelGro's earnings. Buses posted an operating profit of $36.6 million, while taxis contributed $38.5 million - 3.7 and 5.2 per cent higher respectively.

Automotive engineering saw a 31.3 per cent growth in earnings to $12.6 million, fuelled by diesel sales to cabbies in Singapore.

The highest percentage growth however, came from its driving centre division, which saw a 47.8 per cent rise in profit to $3.4 million. This was attributable to more people seeking a driver's licence in Singapore.

ComfortDelGro's rail business remained flat with an operating profit of $3.7 million despite the start of Downtown Line 2 last December.

The new line contributed to a 27.5 per cent rise in rail revenue to $65 million. High start-up cost plus lower profitability of the new line - which is under the new rail financing framework - could have been the reason.

Its vehicle inspection business suffered a 12 per cent drop in profit as Singapore's vehicle population is renewed. Cars below three years of age need not go for inspection.

Earnings from its car leasing business remained flat at $2.1 million despite the surge in interest in private-hire vehicles from the likes of Grab and Uber.

In the area of cash flow, ComfortDelGro posted a net cash inflow of $100.1 million for the quarter. Cash and equivalents stood at $887.9 million, and borrowings stood at $487 million. This puts it in a net cash position of $400.9 million, with a gearing ratio of 16 per cent (versus 18.5 previously).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline 'ComfortDelGro's Q1 profit rises 8.6% to $73.4m'. Print Edition | Subscribe