New acquisitions drive ComfortDelGro's Q1 earnings up 6.2% to $70.4m

Singapore-listed ComfortDelGro also saw revenue rise by 7.8 per cent to $947.3 million for the first three months.
Singapore-listed ComfortDelGro also saw revenue rise by 7.8 per cent to $947.3 million for the first three months.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Powered by contributions from new acquisitions, transport giant ComfortDelGro posted a 6.2 per cent increase in first-quarter earnings to $70.4 million for the period ended March 31.

The Singapore-listed group with operations in China, Australia and Britain saw revenue rising by 7.8 per cent to $947.3 million for the first three months.

Operating expenses crept up by 7.3 per cent to $839.9 million, with the spiral reined in by lower premises cost.

Earnings per share grew from 3.06 cents to 3.25 cents, while net asset value per share stood at 123.56 cents, up from 120.7 cents as at Dec 31, 2018.

Compared with the previous corresponding quarter, margin before interest, tax and depreciation improved marginally from 22 per cent to 22.5 per cent.

The group said on Tuesday (May 14) that revenue from its public transport division grew by 11.6 per cent to $684.9 million, driven mainly by contributions from new acquisitions in Australia and Britain, higher fees earned for its government bus contracts, and higher ridership and higher fares from its rail services in Singapore.

Its automotive engineering and driving centre businesses also fared better, but its taxi and overseas bus station business did not.

 
 
 

Looking ahead, directors expect this trend to continue.

Group chief executive Yang Ban Seng said: "The acquisitions we made in the last year have started to reap returns, and we expect that they will continue to do so.

"We will continue to grow our core businesses, look at investment opportunities and explore new areas for growth, particularly in those that leverage on technology."

ComfortDelGro's financial position remained strong. Total assets grew by $234 million to $5.37 billion. Total liabilities in turn rose by $167.2 million to $2.28 billion.

The group recorded a net cash inflow of $37 million for the quarter. As at March 31, it had short-term deposits and bank balances of $623.1 million. After borrowings of $597.1 million, it had a net cash position of $26 million.

Its gross gearing ratio was 19.3 per cent, up from 18.8 per cent as at Dec 31, 2018.