SMRT Q1 net rises 19.6%

BOLSTERED by higher operating profits, SMRT Corp posted a 19.6 per cent year-on-year jump in net profit to $48.2 million for the first quarter of FY2010 ended June 30, 2009.

Group revenue was generally flat compared with the previous corresponding quarter, dipping $0.1 million to $215.8 million due to a smaller average hired-out taxi fleet and the fare reduction package which started on April 1.

Earnings per share for the quarter were 3.2 cents, up from 2.7 cents.

Revenue from train operations decreased by 0.02 per cent to $115.6 million due to a lower average fare, although this was partially offset by higher average daily ridership.

LRT revenue was 0.3 per cent lower at $2.2 million and taxi rental revenue fell 6.6 per cent to $17.7 million because of a smaller average hired-out fleet.

While revenue from bus operations decreased by 3.7 per cent to $49 million as a result of both lower average fare and average daily ridership, operating profit came to $1.2 million, thanks to lower diesel costs, against a loss of $3.5 million a year ago.

Rental revenue rose 11.9 per cent to $15.5 million on the back of better yield and increased space, though advertising revenue fell by 4.5 per cent to $5.4 million because of the weak economic climate.

Meanwhile, revenue from engineering and other services was 18.9 per cent higher at $10.6 million.

The transaction to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Shenzhen Zona Transportation Group is expected to be closed in a few months though it is subject to certain conditions.

‘For the next 12 months, the profitability of the group will be impacted by the continuing volatility in diesel prices, fare reduction package and the ramp-up costs for the progressive opening of the remaining Circle Line stations,’ Lim Cheng Cheng, SMRT’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer, said.

SMRT expects revenue from train, bus and taxi operations as well as from advertising to be lower year-on-year in Q2 FY2010, although it reckons that increased lettable space will push up rental revenue.

Group operating expenses are expected to rise on the back of more repairs and maintenance and higher staff and related costs.

SMRT closed one cent higher at $1.70 yesterday.

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