ComfortDelGro (CDG) has reported earnings of $61.8 million for the FY2020 ended December, 76.7% lower than earnings of $265.1 million in FY2019.

The lower earnings were due mainly to the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted the group’s revenue and operating profit.

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic affected all our operations across all seven countries, with non-essential services being the hardest hit,” writes the group in a Feb 15 statement.

Operating profit during the year fell 70.4% y-o-y to $123.1 million, although, without the assistance packages from the government of $169.3 million, the group would have seen a full-year operating loss of $46.2 million. This would be the first time the group has registered its first full-year operating loss.

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Group revenue during the year fell 17.2% y-o-y to $3.23 billion due to lower contributions from the group’s business segments. It was partly offset by the favourable foreign currency gains of $15.1 million from the stronger British pound (GBP), Australian dollar (AUD) and Chinese yuan (RMB).

According to CDG, revenue from its public transport services sector fell 10.8% y-o-y to $2.57 billion due to the lower ridership and affected schedules brought about by the lockdowns and measures due to Covid-19.

Revenue from its taxi business fell 39.3% y-o-y to $261.5 million due to the rental waivers extended to drivers in Singapore and China, including full rental waivers during the lockdown periods.

Revenue from automotive engineering services fell 33.7% y-o-y to $163.4 million due to a smaller taxi fleet in Singapore and lower volumes from maintenance and fuel sales due to the pandemic.

Revenue from inspection and testing services fell 16.4% y-o-y at $86.8 million due to lower business volumes for non-vehicle testing services.

Revenue from CDG’s driving centres fell 14.3% y-o-y at $6.9 million due to closure of operations during the circuit breaker period from April to June 2020.

Revenue from the car rental and leasing business fell 2.9% y-o-y to $27 million on lower margins, while the group’s bus station business saw 28% y-o-y lower revenue of $15.7 million due to lower activity levels.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the FY2020 stood at 2.85 cents on a fully diluted basis, compared to FY2019’s 12.23 cents.

A first and final dividend of 1.43 cents has been declared for FY2020, which will be payable on May 20, representing a 50% payout of the group’s earnings.

This is compared to total dividends of 9.79 cents in FY2019. The group did not distribute any interim dividend during the 1HFY2020.

For the FY2020, CDG recognized provisions for impairment on vehicles and goodwill of $48.3 million earlier in the year, though none were taken in the 4QFY2020.

SEE:Maybank Kim Eng ups ComfortDelGro's TP on gradual recovery in ridership for 2021

Cash and cash equivalents as at end-December stood at $742.8 million.

“Life, as we knew it, changed in 2020… We undertook an in-depth analysis of our businesses and operations, looking beyond the immediate challenges to lay the foundations for a stronger future. We resolved to invest more on technology and digitalisation, on newer and cleaner technologies, as we explored new avenues for future growth,” says CDG group chairman Lim Jit Poh.

“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. 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,” adds Lim.

“It has not been an easy 12 months, and we are certainly not out of the woods. 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,” says CDG’s managing director and group CEO Yang Ban Seng.

Shares in CDG closed 1 cent higher or 0.6% up at $1.58 on Feb 15.