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SBS Transit's Q1 profit after tax nearly halves, led by fall in public transport services

SBS Transit's profit after tax fell 46.1 per cent on the year to S$11.1 million for the first quarter, led by a decline in public transport services.

The group, which is 75-per-cent owned by ComfortDelGro Group, said that "the path of recovery to normal is expected to be very gradual", with social distancing expected to continue even after Singapore's lockdown period is over. 

It recorded a more than 80-per-cent drop in public transport ridership during the lockdown period (termed "circuit breaker") compared to pre-Covid-19, as most workplaces were closed. 

SBS said it has over S$250 million in available cash and bank facilities undrawn to "underpin" the continuity of the business. Still, non-essential capital expenditure will be deferred as the group focuses on managing cash. 

The group's directors had their fees cut by 20 per cent since April. This will be reviewed at the end of June; otherwise, it will continue till the end of the year.

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For the first quarter ended March 31, revenue was down 3.3 per cent year on year to S$339 million, SBS said in an update on Thursday. This was led by a decline in public transport services, which recorded lower service fees and ridership. 

Other commercial services also contributed to the fall, largely owing to lower advertising. 

Shares of SBS, trading cum-dividend, closed unchanged at S$2.79 on Thursday before the announcement. 

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