Business

ComfortDelGro reveals 6.2% increase in first-quarter earnings

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 - which has operations in China, Australia and Britain - saw revenue rise by 7.8 per cent to $947.3 million.

Operating expenses crept up by 7.3 per cent to $839.9 million, reined in by lower premises costs.

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 last year.

Compared with the previous corresponding quarter, the margin for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation inched up from 22 per cent to 22.5 per cent.

The 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 fares from its rail services here.

Its automotive engineering and driving centre businesses also fared better, though 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."

On its taxi operations, the group said the slide in revenue had slowed down, with bookings holding steady.

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 STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE