SBS Transit posts 70% higher FY18 earnings of $80 mil on revenue surge

Michelle Zhu

SINGAPORE (Feb 12): SBS Transit announced earnings of $80.1 million for FY18, up 70% y-o-y from its FY17 earnings of $47.1 million due to higher revenue.

This brings the land transport operator’s earnings per share (EPS) on a fully diluted basis to 25.71 cents compared to 15.15 cents a year ago.

Group revenue for the full year came in 16.1% higher at $1.38 billion compared to $1.19 billion in FY17.

This was mainly attributable to a 16.7% growth in revenue contributions from the Public Transport Services segment to $1.33 billion in 2018 from $1.14 billion previously, due to higher fees incurred from the commencement of the Seletar and Bukit Merah bus packages in March and November, respectively – as well as higher ridership from rail services with a full year of operation of the Downtown Line (DTL) 3.

Average daily ridership (ADR) for the DTL grew by 61.15 to 450,000 passenger trips, while ADR for the North-East Line (NEL) grew by 2.7% to 591,000 passenger trips compared to 2017.

ADR for the Light Rail Transit (LRT), too, grew by 8.9% to 132,000 passenger trips from the year before.

As such, operating profit for Public Transport Services near-doubled to $60.2 million from $34.3 million in 2017 as a result of the higher segmental revenue, offset in part by higher staff, fuel, electricity, repairs & maintenance and other operating costs.

Meanwhile, revenue from the Other Commercial Services segment increased 4% to $58.3 million from $56 million in 2017 due to higher advertising revenue.

This has resulted in operating profit of $37.1 million for the segment, up 11% from $33.4 million due to higher revenue and lower staff costs.

As at end-Dec 2018, cash and cash equivalents stood at $32.7 million as opposed to $5.3 million in FY17.

Looking ahead, SBS Transit says it expects revenue from its Public Transport Services segment to continue growing on the back of higher bus service revenue, although it anticipates its rail business to continue facing challenges from operating and maintenance costs.

Despite higher revenue expected from the 4.3% fare adjustment implemented on 29 Dec 2018, the group’s repairs & maintenance costs are expected to rise with the NEL/Sengkang and Punggol LRT (SPLRT) fleet in its mid-life cycle, it adds.

Meanwhile, the group says it expects staff costs to rise following salary adjustments and increments to retain and attract staff.

It also foresees higher repairs & maintenance costs with a larger fleet size; higher-maintenance requirements for an ageing bus fleet and the NEL/SPLRT fleet; increased operating and maintenance costs with the full year’s effect of the Seletar and Bukit Merah bus packages; as well as continued investments in predictive maintenance capabilities to enhance service reliability.

Shares in SBS Transit closed 4 cents higher at $2.98 on Tuesday.