The rise of ComfortDelGro: S$91 million in profit in the first half of 2021

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It’s a tough economy to survive in during COVID-19 times, some industries were hit harder than others. ComfortDelGro was one of the big names that was badly affected in the early half of 2020. They suffered a loss of S$6.6 million, a massive difference compared to their recent announcement on 13th August of S$91 million in earnings in the first half of this year.

For many of us in Singapore when we think of ComfortDelGro, we think of taxis. According to ComfortDelGro’s website, “ComfortDelGro’s businesses include bus, taxi, rail, car rental and leasing, automotive engineering services, inspection and testing services, driving centres, non-emergency patient transport services, insurance broking services and outdoor advertising.” So basically, it’s a lot more than just taxis.

Much of the reason why they are no longer in the red is also due to government relief, fuel indexation in Singapore, increased use of their services and a positive translation effect of the stronger Australian dollar and sterling pound. 

Now let’s look at the reported numbers of the first half of 2021 (H1/2021):

  • Group revenue increased by 13.6% to $1.74 billion
  • Total equity increased by $85.8 million to $3.2 billion
  • Revenue from public transport services increased by 11.3% to $1.4 billion
  • Revenue from taxi services increased by 26.5% to $225.9 million
  • Revenue from automotive engineering services increased by 4.1% to $85.5 million
  • Revenue from inspection and testing services increased by 23.1% to $49.1 million
  • Revenue from the driving centre increased by 71.6% to $26.6 million
  • Revenue from car rental and leasing business decreased by 6.5% to $13 million
  • Revenue from bus station business in China decreased by 2.9% to $6.6 million
  • Declared an interim dividend of 2.1 cents per ordinary share (no interim dividend was declared in H1/2020)

Mr Yang Ban Seng, the Group CEO and ComfortDelGro managing director, described the past six months as “painful but tolerable”.

“The global situation continues to be difficult but it is definitely an improvement over the catastrophic conditions we all experienced last year. Whilst the situation may have improved compared to last year, the continuous see-saw effect of lockdowns and reopenings has taken its toll on businesses and the community alike,” Mr Yang said.

As a company, they are doing their best to reduce costs while keeping their staff employed. All these while they “continued to extend aid in the form of rental relief to our cabbies to mitigate the impact of low demand”.

While the numbers for H1/2021 are looking up, it is not the time to take any of it for granted. There are still many obstacles ahead as global economic recovery will be a challenge. Mr Yang said, “we have been reviewing our business models and accelerating our digitalisation programmes in a bid to remain nimble in an exceedingly trying environment”.

It’s a marathon, not a race.

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