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SBS Transit Q1 operating profit down 2.6% as costs rise

Singapore bus and rail operator SBS Transit on Friday reported a 2.6 per cent fall in operating profit for the three months ended March, as cost increases outstripped revenue gains from higher ridership.

SINGAPORE: Singapore bus and rail operator SBS Transit on Friday reported a 2.6 per cent fall in operating profit for the three months ended March, as cost increases outstripped revenue gains from higher ridership.

SBS Transit -- which runs the bulk of Singapore's public bus services -- made an operating profit of S$4.9 million for the three months ended March, down from S$5.0 million in the same period a year ago.

Profit attributable to shareholders rose 17 per cent to S$3.3 million, however, helped by a tax credit that more than halved the amount of taxes SBS Transit will have to pay.

SBS Transit's revenue rose 8.8 per cent to S$222.8 million during the first three months of the year -- with revenue from bus operations gaining 7.2 per cent to S$165.9 million and revenue from rail jumping 18 per cent to S$42.1 million.

The jump in rail revenue was partly due to the commencement of Downtown Line 1 operations.

But expenses also rose, with staff cost increasing 11 per cent, and fuel and electricity costs rising by 7.2 per cent.

Looking ahead, SBS Transit said the bus and rail segments continue to be challenging.

Staff costs will continue to rise due to the headcount increase -- mainly from the build-up for bus service enhancement programme and Downtown Line 2 -- along with salary adjustments.

With the renewal and expansion of the bus fleet, depreciation and financing costs are expected to increase, SBS Transit added. 

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