SINGAPORE (May 13): Public transport operator SBS Transit has posted a 23.3% increase in earnings to $20.7 million for the 1Q19 ended March, from $16.8 million a year ago.

Earnings per share (EPS) on a fully diluted basis rose to 6.63 cents for 1Q19, from 5.38 cents in 1Q18.

1Q19 revenue rose 6.9% to $350.8 million, from $328.2 million a year ago.

This was mainly due to a 6.8% increase in revenue from its Public Transport Services segment to $334.4 million for 1Q19, on the back of higher fees earned with higher operated mileage from bus services and higher ridership and average fare from rail services.

Revenue from its Other Commercial Services segment grew 9.6% to $16.3 million for 1Q19, due mainly to higher advertising revenue.

Total operating costs grew at a slower pace during the quarter, rising 5.5% to $324.5 million, from $307.6 million a year ago.

The increase was led by a 5.1% rise in staff costs to $180.8 million, a 12.9% rise in fuel and electricity costs to $41.9 million, and a 23.2% rise in other operating costs to $21.6 million.

Consequently, operating profit was 27.7% higher at $26.3 million for 1Q19, compared to $20.6 million in 1Q18.

As at end March, cash and cash equivalents stood at $6.1 million.

Moving forward, SBS Transit says revenue from Public Transport Services is expected to grow, with the full year contribution from the Seletar and Bukit Merah Bus Packages which commenced operations from March 2018 and November 2018, respectively.

Rail service revenue is also expected to be higher, with higher ridership as well as the fare adjustment of 4.3% effective from Dec 29, 2018.

Meanwhile, revenue from Other Commercial Services is expected to be maintained.

Shares in SBS Transit close 1.3% higher at $4.05 on Monday.