SBS Transit reports 3Q18 net profit jumps 78 percent as Seletar bus package begins

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Bus operator SBS Transit reported on Thursday that its third quarter net profit jumped  77.5 percent on-year to S$19.72 million as the Seletar bus package began operations.

Revenue for the quarter rose 19.1 percent on-year to S$351.37 million, it said in a filing to SGX after the market close on Thursday.

The public transport services segments revenue for the quarter rose 20.5 percent on-year to S$337.9 million, largely due to higher fees earned with higher operated mileage following the commencement of the Seletar Bus Package in March 2018 and higher rail-services ridership with the commencement of Downtown Line (DTL) 3 from October 2017, SBS Transit said.

That was offset by lower average rail fare from the fare reduction effective 29 December 2017, it said.

Average daily ridership for the DTL rose 82.9 percent on-year in the third quarter to 472,000 passenger trips, while the North-East Line’s rose 3.9 percent on-year to 608,000 and the Sengkang and Punggol Light Rail Transit average daily ridership increased 11.2 percent on-year to 136,000, it said.

“Despite the increase in rail ridership, rail operations continue to incur losses as the fare revenue was not sufficient to cover rising operating and maintenance costs,” SBS Transit said.

Total operating costs increased 16.5 percent on-year to S$327.41 million in the quarter, SBS Transit said.

For the nine-month period, revenue rose 18.3 percent on-year to S$1.02 billion, while net profit increased 64.2 percent on-year to S$55.91 million, it said.

In its outlook, SBS Transit said bus service revenue was expected to grow with the March 2018 start of the Seletar Bus Package and with the Bukit Merah Bus Package expected to begin in the fourth quarter

Rail service revenue was also expected to rise on the full-year revenue contribution from DTL 3 and on the fare adjustment of 4.3 percent approved by regulators, it said. But it added, the rail business would continue to face headwinds from maintenance costs.