SINGAPORE: ComfortDelGro on Monday (Feb 15) said that it registered its first full-year operating loss in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before taking into account Government relief packages.
With economic activity coming to a "near standstill" in the markets it operates in, ComfortDelGro said it saw a full-year operating loss of S$46.2 million, compared with an operating profit of S$415.8 million in 2019.
After taking into account national COVID-19 support measures, ComfortDelGro managed to stay in the black with a full-year operating profit of S$123.1 million, down 70.4 per cent from the year before.
Full-year net profit fell by 76.7 per cent to S$61.8 million.
"Not unexpectedly, COVID-19 weighed heavily on the financial performance of ComfortDelGro Corporation for the year," the company said in a news release.
"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affected all our operations across all seven countries, with non-essential services being the hardest hit."
ComfortDelGro operates in Singapore, Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Vietnam and Malaysia. It has a global fleet size of more than 40,000 buses, taxis and rental vehicles.
In a year marked by border closures and COVID-19 lockdowns, group revenue dropped by 17.2 per cent to S$3.2 billion.
“It has not been an easy 12 months, and we are certainly not out of the woods," said Mr Yang Ban Seng, ComfortDelGro's managing director and group CEO.
"But we have seen a steady uptick in business activity especially in the last quarter, and we remain hopeful that gradual global recovery will continue."
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During the year, full-year revenue for ComfortDelGro's taxi business dropped by 39.3 per cent to S$403.2 million due mainly to rental waiver schemes to help drivers in Singapore and China weather the COVID-19 fallout.
In Singapore, rental was completely waived for two months during the "circuit breaker" period. The group’s taxi business reported its first full-year operating loss of S$64.4 million as a result.
In its public transport services business, full-year revenue fell by 10.8 per cent to S$2.6 billion as ridership and schedules across its operations took a hit from strict social distancing measures and lockdowns.
Revenue from the group’s inspection and testing services business also dropped by 16.4 per cent to S$86.8 million due to lower business volumes for non-vehicle testing services, said ComfortDelGro.
Looking ahead, the group said that it continues to maintain a cautious outlook for the current financial year, given the fluid COVID-19 situation.
"Although Singapore has made good progress since moving into Phase 3, full resumption of economic activities remains a distant prospect," said ComfortDelGro in the release.
ComfortDelGro proposed a first and final tax-exempt one-tier dividend of 1.43 cents per share.
"We did not declare a mid-year dividend – the first time in our history that we failed to do so. It was necessary to conserve cash in an environment which called for prudence," said ComfortDelGro group chairman Lim Jit Poh.
"As we end the year, we felt it was important for us to extend a gesture of thanks to our shareholders and this is why we have proposed a small dividend based on our declared dividend policy guidelines even though full recovery remains uncertain."