Transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp posted a 5 per cent rise in net profit to $317.1 million for the full year ended Dec 31, marking yet another record year and its eighth consecutive year of earnings growth.
Revenue slid by 1.3 per cent to $4.06 billion, largely on the back of unfavourable currency translation, caused mainly by the falling sterling pound.
At the same time, the weakened currencies in territories the group operates in helped nudge operating expenses down by 1.7 per cent to $3.6 billion.
Substantially lower fuel, power, materials and consumable costs helped shore up ComfortDelGro's bottom line.
Earnings per share stood at 14.72 cents, up from 14.07 cents in 2015.
AT A GLANCE
NET PROFIT: $317.1 million (+5%)
REVENUE: $4.06 billion (-1.3%)
FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 6.05 cents (+21%)
Operating margin before taxes and amortisation improved from 20.4 per cent to 21.1 per cent.
Net asset value per share as at Dec 31 was 114.77 cents, up from 108.60 as at end 2015.
Directors are declaring a final dividend of 6.05 cents, payable on May 15 - up from five cents the year before.
Among the group's business segments, public transport services - which include bus, rail and associated operations such as retail space rental and advertising - posted the biggest operating profit of $178.3 million, up from $177.7 million.
Chief executive Kua Hong Pak said the group no longer lists the various components in this grouping because of the heightened competition arising from Singapore moving to the contracting model.
Since rival SMRT's privatisation, ComfortDelGro is the only publicly listed transport player here.
Despite competition from private-hire firms, its taxi business posted an operating profit of $167.5 million, up from $163.9 million.
Its engineering unit posted $50.7 million in operating profit, up from $41.2 million despite an 11 per cent drop in revenue to $330.5 million.
Its inspection and testing unit, operated by subsidiary Vicom, contributed $34.8 million, down from $37.7 million. The group expects this unit to post lower revenue in the current year on the back of squeezed margins in the testing division.
It expects engineering revenue to be lower on lower diesel sales to cabbies. Its bus station business in China will also rake in less because of competition from the high-speed rail network. For public transport services, it expects revenue in Singapore and Australia to be higher, but lower in Britain.
The group recorded a net cash outflow of $8.5 million for 2016.
As at Dec 31, it had cash and equivalents of $779.3 million.
After accounting for borrowings of $345.1 million, the group had a net cash position of $434.2 million, up from $229.2 million as at the same time in 2015.
Its gross gearing was 10.8 per cent, down from 18.5 per cent.