SBS Transit posts slide in 2020 profits, mitigated by govt relief and higher fares

Lower ridership on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic dragged SBS Transit's revenue down by 14.8 per cent to $1.23 billion. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Transport operator SBS Transit posted a 2.9 per cent dip in full-year earnings to $79 million, as effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were partly offset by government relief.

Without public aid, the ComfortDelGro subsidiary would have posted an operating loss of $29.8 million in 2020, down from $103.5 million in gains in the same 12 months in 2019.

Lower ridership on the back of the pandemic dragged revenue down by 14.8 per cent to $1.23 billion. A sharp drop in fuel and energy cost mitigated the impact of the pandemic.

Earnings per share fell from 26.07 cents to 25.32 cents. SBST's margins before depreciation and taxes improved to 15.4 per cent, from 14.4 previously.

Net asset value per share stood at $1.88, from $1.69 previously.

The company said average daily ridership for the Downtown Line dropped by 46 per cent to 257,000 trips, while ridership for North East Line dropped by 40.9 per cent to 355,000 trips. The Sengkang-Punggol LRT saw a 31.2 per cent ridership drop to 97,000 trips a day.

Average fares, however, were higher.

Directors expect revenue from public transport to improve this year, in the absence of any further circuit breakers, but added that uncertainty remains.

They are recommending a final dividend of 6.3 cents, up from 5.9 previously. No interim dividend was paid for 2020.

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