SBS Transit's full-year net earnings surge 50.3% to $47.1m

Bus and train operator SBS Transit's jump in net earnings was attributable to the government bus contracting model, higher ridership and the commencement of Downtown Line 3.
Bus and train operator SBS Transit's jump in net earnings was attributable to the government bus contracting model, higher ridership and the commencement of Downtown Line 3.ST FILE PHOTO

Bus and train operator SBS Transit posted a 50.3 per cent rise in net earnings to $47.1 million for the year ended Dec 31 last year.

The substantial increase, which came on the back of an 8.5 per cent growth in revenue to $1.2 billion, was attributable to the government bus contracting model, higher ridership and the commencement of Downtown Line 3. Total operating cost rose by 7.1 per cent to $1.1 billion.

Earnings per share stood at 15.17 cents, up from 10.12 cents. Net asset value per share was $1.44, up from $1.35. SBS Transit's operating margin before tax, interest and depreciation improved from 11.2 per cent to 13.1 per cent.

The ComfortDelGro subsidiary had cash and equivalents of $5.3 million, up from $4.3 million the year before. Its gross gearing ratio was 40.3 per cent as of Dec 31 last year - down from 51.7 per cent a year earlier.

SBS Transit said average daily ridership for its North East Line grew by 2 per cent to 576,000 trips. Its Sengkang-Punggol LRT ridership rose by 5.9 per cent to 121,000 trips.

Last Saturday, the Land Transport Authority said daily weekday rides on the Downtown Line have increased by over 50 per cent to 470,000 since Downtown Line 3 opened last October. It said the line is expected to see over half a million rides a day by the year end.

SBS Transit's revenue of $56 million in the last year from other commercial services was down by 12.4 per cent because of lower advertising and rental revenue arising from the loss of the Bulim and Loyang bus packages. Directors expect transport revenue to continue growing this year and are recommending a final dividend of 3.95 cents - up from 2.7 cents previously.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2018, with the headline 'SBS Transit's full-year net earnings surge 50.3% to $47.1m'. Print Edition | Subscribe