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Old February 16th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #901
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Business Times - 16 Feb 2005

ComfortDelgro wants to be world's No. 1


It aims to overtake America's LaidLaw via greater expansion overseas


By SAMUEL EE

COMFORTDELGRO, the world's second-largest land transport group, is eyeing a pole position and plans to overtake American front-runner LaidLaw in four to six years.

ComfortDelgro says the route to the top will involve more overseas acquisitions. But how important is this lofty goal to shareholders?

The transport giant, with bus, taxi and rail operations, has a fleet of 38,100 vehicles, excluding trains. LaidLaw has a fleet of about 52,500 vehicles.

ComfortDelgro became the heavyweight it is today when two listed transport companies - Comfort Group and Delgro Corp - merged in March 2003. With limited growth in Singapore, the decision to expand overseas was a no-brainer.

The group wants 50 per cent of its revenue to come from abroad within four to six years, up from about 35 per cent now.

On Monday, it announced that revenue for FY2004 rose 13.6 per cent to a record $2.14 billion. Net profit jumped 49.8 per cent to $200.6 million on the performance of buses and taxis, increased diesel sales and shrinking losses from the North-East MRT Line.

Interestingly enough, the overseas taxi business posted the highest profit growth.

For now, ComfortDelgro is in six other countries - China, Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Vietnam and Malaysia.

'We are already the largest foreign land transport operator in the UK and China,' said ComfortDelgro's group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan. 'And at this point, China is where the opportunities are.'

ComfortDelgro is now active in 12 Chinese cities, operating everything from taxis, buses and bus depots to vehicle inspection and maintenance centres. It plans soon to move into areas such as driving centres, engineering services and auto insurance.

Last year, ComfortDelgro's China investments alone were $48 million. The rest of the 2004 total investment figure of $75.9 million went to the UK, which last year contributed 14 per cent of the group's profit before tax - or almost double the 8 per cent from China.

But managing director and group CEO Kua Hong Pak expects the Chinese investments to contribute fully in about two years.

The group has invested $516.4 million overseas in the past decade. Assuming LaidLaw's fleet size stays where it is now, it is estimated that ComfortDelgro will have to invest about $450 million if it intends to capture the number one spot.

'If we can be number one, that means we have grown significantly, provided this is done properly and there is profitable growth,' Mr Kua said.

Group chairman Lim Jit Poh said growth is necessary for the group to achieve its target of getting 50 per cent of revenue from overseas. 'So we will have to make significant investments,' he said.

ComfortDelgro has relied so far on internal funds for expansion. But as it ratchets up overseas investments, the question turns to the gearing and the possible need to raise more funds for acquisitions.

'We are in a net cash position with some $190 million in the bank,' Ms Tan said. 'There is no need to raise funds at this point.'

The group's large excess capital position is not in doubt. And some analysts say neither is the capability of its management to achieve the goal of being the biggest in the world. But at the end of the day, number one or two may not be as relevant to the ordinary shareholder as earnings growth and dividends.

'Of course being number one doesn't really matter to our shareholders, but it does help the group's image overseas, especially when looking for new businesses,' said a senior executive.

ComfortDelgro's share price appreciated about 90 per cent between end-December 2003 and end-December 2004.

It would seem that if the company continues to watch its profitability and avoid taking unnecessary risks, there should be no reason why its stock should not continue to rise if and when its global ranking eventually does.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.


Business Times - 16 Feb 2005

Transport giant in US$3m Vietnam taxi venture

COMFORTDELGRO has embarked on a second joint venture in Vietnam by investing US$3 million for a 60 per cent stake in a Ho Chi Minh taxi project.

The tie-up with former state-owned enterprise Saigon General Service Corp (Savico) will result in the creation of ComfortDelgro Savico Taxi Co to operate 276 taxis, a call centre and a workshop.

The other 40 per cent will be contributed by Savico in the form of vehicles and other operating assets.

ComfortDelgro managing director and group CEO Kua Hong Pak said that yesterday's signing of the joint venture agreement was significant in many ways.

'Firstly, it marks the beginning of yet another valuable relationship with one of Vietnam's highly respected corporations,' he said. 'Secondly, it reflects our firm commitment to the land transport industry in Vietnam and our belief that there is still room for growth in the coming years.'

ComfortDelgro's first joint venture in Vietnam also involved a taxi company. In 2003, it took a 70 per cent stake in Vinataxi, which services Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring provinces. That tie-up has since grown from an initial fleet of 400 cabs to 702.

Last year, Vietnam and Malaysia together contributed a mere one per cent to group profit before tax, compared with 14 per cent for the UK and 8 per cent for China.

All its overseas acquisitions follow one mantra - stay close to the core business. 'ComfortDelgro's core capabilities are in land transport and we have no intention of straying from them,' said group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan.

'Our strategy is to offer the full range of land transport services, both up and down the value chain.'

The group wants 50 per cent of its revenue to come from abroad within four to six years, up from about 35 per cent now.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 12:12 PM   #902
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So yaya papaya leh. All it wants is something to crow about, it seems!
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 04:26 PM   #903
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23 February 2005

New public transport fare adjustment formula recommended
By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Putting the brakes on untimely public transport fares hikes.

This is one of the thrusts of the recommendations tabled by the Committee on the Fare Review Mechanism.

The Tang family gave up their car more than a year ago after Mr Tang Kjin Keon was retrenched.

The couple now spends some $300 a month on bus and MRT trips.

With the new recommendations, such expenditure by families who rely on public transport will be monitored annually.

Instead of using findings from the Household Expenditure Survey which are only available every five years.

Wing Teng, a commuter, said: "We actually thought taking public transport is not too expensive but we realised that it is not that cheap either. We hope the government can do something to revise the fares downwards so that we can save."

And that could be possible with the new proposed fares adjustment formula.

The committee said the new proposed fare adjustment formula would mirror the changes in the cost of living and wages more accurately.

Ong Kian Min, Chairman of the Committee on the Fare Review Mechanism, said: "If this formula had been in operation since 1998, you can see that in some years in applying this formular, it will produce a negative maximum adjustment value which means that in those years conditions were such that the fares should be reduced or rebates should be given by the PTC."

While the Public Transport Council says it has been strict in approving fare adjustments, balancing commuters' interest with the viability of public transport operators.

Mr Tang feels more can be done.

"All the while we are not sure how they compute and review the fares and there is no transparency at all," he said.

Besides being more transparent, the recommendations also include checks against excessive profits, sharing gains with commuters and provisions for the Public Transport Council to vary or reject fare changes.

The report will be presented in Parliament next month.

The committee also said that the formula should be reviewed every three years to ensure that it remains relevant and reflects the changes to economic performance and wage movements.

The SBS Transit said the new formula better reflects cost structure and is likely to be more responsive to changes in business environment. - CNA

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 09:31 PM   #904
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I hope they survey my family...we have no car too!
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"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old February 24th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #905
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Feb 24, 2005
Sip wine at Raffles Place station

By Daryl Loo

OFFICE workers getting off work can now kick back with a cup of coffee with a dash of booze or a glass of wine at the Raffles Place MRT station, something which has never been allowed before.

They can pick these drinks up at the Coffee Connoisseur cafe, the first outlet at an MRT station in Singapore allowed to serve alcohol.



Before the cafe was allowed to set up underground, the layout of the station's shopping arcade had to be changed, to conform with the fire safety rules that places selling liquor have to abide with.

The revamp cost SMRT Corporation, which operates all the MRT stations and lines here with the exception of the North-East Line, about $7 million.

Minister of State for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua said yesterday at the official launch of the Raffles Xchange, as the arcade has been dubbed, that such use of space is encouraged as it creates alternate income for public transport operators.

This, in turn, allows operators to hold off future hikes in fares, she added.

The Raffles Place station is the first to undergo a major facelift under SMRT's plan to add retail space and inject new life into some of its 51 stations.

Work on it started last June and was supposed to have been done by November. But regulatory issues, such as the fire safety requirements, which required the station's walkways to be made wider, delayed things.

'I am glad that SMRT has persevered in its plans,' said Mrs Lim.

It led to a review of rules, like the one on the width of MRT station walkways, by agencies such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Urban Redevelopment Authority which regulate such issues, she noted.

To work around the one that says no retail outlet is allowed to serve alcohol at any MRT station, SMRT built The Coffee Connoisseur outlet in an area away from the main transit area at Raffles Place.

Retail space at the station has been increased by 53 per cent to 2,600 sq m, allowing more shops to open there. From 35 spots, there is now place for 53, of which just one unit is yet to be rented out.

Most outlets are selling clothes and accessories, and include Giordano and Goldheart Jewelry. There is also the usual bunch of food outlets, gift shops and convenience stores.

SMRT chairman Choo Chiau Beng said after his company's experience dealing with regulatory issues at Raffles Xchange, it should be able to complete revamps at other MRT stations much faster.

The operator is hoping to raise its income from retail space rental by 50 per cent or $10 million by April next year.

SMRT is also getting revenue from advertising at its stations, trains, buses and taxis, providing engineering services and rail management overseas, and its taxi business.

But Mr Choo believes that if all goes as planned, SMRT's retail rentals should be the fastest growing area as 'we've still got plenty of space in all the stations'.

'If we can grow our non-fare revenue, it helps us to give people using public transport the lowest fares,' he added.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 12:15 PM   #906
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The mall is new, right?
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Old February 24th, 2005, 12:17 PM   #907
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redstone
The mall is new, right?
More like renovated......
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Old February 25th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #908
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redstone
Any more pics of Punggol MRT station?
Only one more.......

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Old February 27th, 2005, 08:20 AM   #909
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Old February 27th, 2005, 02:17 PM   #910
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Finally....

Where have you been all these while?
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Majulah Singapura 前进吧,新加坡!Onward Singapore முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்

"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 02:59 PM   #911
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Changi Airport MRT (again... ; 3/3/05 )



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Old March 3rd, 2005, 03:10 PM   #912
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The best looking of the lot from the inside.
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 04:14 PM   #913
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Last edited by ignoramus; March 15th, 2005 at 07:19 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #914
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Business Times - 04 Mar 2005

Public transport fare review recommendations accepted

By SAMUEL EE

THE Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport's report on the public transport fare review mechanism have been accepted in full.

Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong said that the new formula proposed to cap any adjustments in fares - one of the key recommendations in the report - 'is very fair since it's a responsive formula'.

Under the new formula, the maximum fare adjustment is equal to 'Price Index minus 0.3 per cent'.

Price Index itself is equal to half of CPI (consumer price index) plus half of WI (the change in average monthly earnings).

The 0.3 per cent figure is a 'productivity extraction' and is exactly half of the 0.6 per cent productivity gains enjoyed by public transport operators.

Mr Yeo said that poor economic conditions can result in pay cuts and negative inflation, so the formula includes the possibility of fare reductions and rebates.

But he said few people expect the public transport operators (PTOs) to apply for a fare revision on their own if the fare review formula has negative outcome.

As a result, the transport ministry will be amending the Public Transport Council (PTC) Act later this year.

'(This will) empower PTC to determine if a fare reduction or rebate is warranted and if so, to direct the PTO to do so even though the PTO themselves may not have applied for a fare revision,' he said.

Mr Yeo added that more importantly, the report has also recommended additional Rota (return on total assets) and affordability checks to ensure that the interests of commuters are safeguarded.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old March 6th, 2005, 04:25 PM   #915
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Ignore seems to be updating this thread every weekend.....haha!
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"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old March 7th, 2005, 01:10 PM   #916
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March 7, 2005
Bus and train fares may rise... or not

By Jane Ng

IT IS too early to tell if bus and train fares will go up this year under the new formula for fare changes the government approved last week, said Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong yesterday.

This is because transport operators have until next month to apply to the Public Transport Council, which needs to give approval, if they want to raise their fares.

In any case, said Mr Yeo, the PTC also has to wait until data on average changes in the Consumer Price Index and wages for last year are available, as these are needed in calculating the new fares.

The new formula, unlike the old one which pegged fares only to the Consumer Price Index, allows for fares to go down during an economic downturn. It was proposed by the Parliamentary Committee for Transport headed by MP Ong Kian Min and accepted by the Government last week.

Speaking to reporters after a community function in Yew Tee, Mr Yeo also rebutted cab companies' complaints that the driving safety standards imposed on them were too harsh.

All the taxi companies, except for Trans-Cab, were recently fined for the first time for not meeting the standards.

But Mr Yeo said the standard - no more than two accidents per 10 million kilometres - was based on what the companies themselves achieved from 1999 to 2001.

He said that taxi operators played a big part in shaping the behaviour of their drivers, and called on them to use a 'carrot and stick' approach with cabbies.

'The company has to have a system of incentivising taxi drivers to be safe.

'For those who are reckless, there must also be a system for penalising them,' he said.

The Land Transport Authority had been fair to the companies, taking into account only accidents caused by the driver or 'when the taxi driver himself played a part in the accident', he said.

'The LTA does differentiate,' he said.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 06:23 PM   #917
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Bloody hell...I hope those families report that they are struggling!
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Majulah Singapura 前进吧,新加坡!Onward Singapore முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்

"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:19 AM   #918
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Old March 15th, 2005, 08:23 AM   #919
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

All aboard the Sentosa Express

CEO Darrell Metzger hopes to put island on the fast track with extreme makeover

Tuesday • March 15, 2005

Felix Cheong
[email protected]

HOP on, if you have the time, for the 23-year-old Sentosa monorail will stop running at the end of today, to make way for the $140 million Sentosa Express , scheduled for operation in November next year.

It's the first major step in a $3-billion plan to change the face of Singapore's resort getaway.

Leading the charge is Sentosa Leisure Group chief executive officer (CEO) Darrell Metzger. The 57-year-old American, who has been at the helm since February 2002, was well aware that the 500-hectare island, once a sleepy fishing village, was in dire need of an extreme makeover, beginning with its business model.

"We were charging fairly high admission ($6)," Metzger noted in an hour-long chat with Today at The Sentosa Resort and Spa. "That made it difficult for businesses here because people would only have so much disposable cash to spend that day."

So, within eight months of taking over, Metzger had the admission fee lowered to $2. The returns were immediate.

"In the last two years, it's been record figures," said the former CEO of Hong Kong's Ocean Park and Hawaii's Atlantis Adventures. "We had 4.2 million visitors in 2003, and that was with the Sars crisis." Last year's visitor figures have yet to be finalised, but are estimated to be 4.8 million.

"We'd like to see no admission fee at all but we don't know when (that will happen)," Metzger said.

But Metzger — who had a hand in organising the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics and the 1986 Vancouver World Fair — was quick to stress that it's not all about huge crowds.

"When you come here to play beach volleyball, you expect to be able to play beach volleyball. If it's too crowded and you can't do that, then we've destroyed our product."

Not destroying the product and preserving Sentosa's tranquillity seemed to be Metzger's overriding concerns. "If you drive around the island and it doesn't look like a resort island, then we wouldn't be able to market that. We cannot destroy the product we're selling."

And what will keep the product fresh and help lure people back?

"Keep introducing new things, keep shifting the focus on different markets," Metzger offered. "This is a vibrant, energised business. We can't sit back and say: We've built it, let's hope everybody comes to visit. It won't work!"

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #920
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