SINGAPORE (May 12): ComfortDelGro saw earnings for the first quarter ended March increase by 12.4% to $82.5 million, from $73.4 million a year ago.

This was mainly attributable to a $10.5 million increase in net income from investments to $13.7 million, due to $11.1 million in special dividends from Cabcharge Australia, offset by a decrease in interest income of $0.6 million.

Group revenue fell 2.4% to $972.0 million in 1Q17, from $995.6 million a year ago.

Actual revenue increased by $1.2 million, but was wiped out by a negative foreign exchanged effect of $24.8 million due mainly to the weaker Sterling Pound and Chinese Renminbi.

Revenue from the group’s public transport services business grew marginally by 0.8% to $561.5 million while revenue from its driving centre business was 3.0% higher at $10.3 million.

However, these were partially offset by a 5.7% decline in its taxi business revenue to $314.6 million, a 13.4% drop in revenue from its automotive engineering services business to $73.7 million, a 3.0% decrease in revenue from its inspection and testing services business to $25.7 million, and lower revenue from its car rental and leasing business which fell 7.4% to $8.7 million.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $639.2 million as at March 31, 2017.

“The global environment has become more challenging as economic growth remains sluggish and competition intensifies,” says ComfortDelGro Managing Director and Group CEO Yang Ban Seng. “Our taxi business, both locally and overseas, continued to face keen competition but we intend to continue to do our best to maintain our dominant position in Singapore.”

Looking ahead, ComfortDelGro says revenue from its public transport services, bus service, rail service, and Australia bus businesses are expected to be higher.

However, the group says it will continue to manage costs prudently amid a challenging operating environment.

“As a group, we will continue to invest and innovate to stay ahead of the competition and look for opportunities for growth,” Yang says.

Shares of ComfortDelGro closed 3 cents lower at $2.69 on Friday.