Business

SBS Transit posts 23.3% increase in earnings

Transport operator SBS Transit (SBST) posted a 23.3 per cent increase in earnings to $20.7 million for the first quarter ended March 31 as better margins from bus contracts continued to flow in.

Revenue crept up by 6.9 per cent to $350.8 million, ahead of a 5.5 per cent rise in operating expenses to $324.5 million.

Earnings per share rose from 5.39 to 6.63 cents. Net asset value per share stood at $1.64, up from $1.60 at the end of last year.

SBST's profit margin before interest, tax and depreciation improved to 14.8 per cent, up from 13.6 per cent in the previous corresponding quarter.

Average daily ridership on the Downtown MRT Line grew by 10.4 per cent to 476,000 trips. Ridership on the more mature North East Line grew by 3.2 per cent to 603,000 trips. The SengkangPunggol LRT also saw a 10.4 per cent rise in ridership to 141,000 trips.

Its non-transit businesses did better too. This was mainly because of higher advertising revenue.

SBST remained in a viable financial position. Group total assets increased by 4.9 per cent to $1.11 billion. Group total liabilities increased by 6.9 per cent to $603.5 million.

Looking ahead, directors expect transit revenue to continue to grow, with full-year contribution from the Seletar and Bukit Merah government bus contracts.

They also expect rail revenue to grow on the back of rising ridership, as well as from a 4.3 per cent fare rise that came into effect on Dec 29 last year. - THE STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE