CMB plunges 93pc as franchise ends

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 November, 1998, 12:00am

China Motor Bus (CMB), the company that for 65 years ran the exclusive bus service on Hong Kong Island before being stripped of its franchise in September, yesterday revealed a 93.48 per cent slide in net profit.

The Ngan family-run company said attributable profit fell to $177.3 million for the year to June 30, the last year for which it will see full contributions from its bus operations.

CMB made a net profit of $2.72 billion the year before, when it booked gains from the development of its North Point bus depot, now the joint Swire Properties and CMB-developed Island Place retail and housing complex.

Provisions of $121.63 million further drove down CMB's profit, of which $102.48 million was made for the decline in value of an associated company.

The company - founded by one-time rickshaw puller Ngan Shing-kwan - also booked provisions of $7.45 million for the termination of its bus franchise and $11.7 million for deferred profits.

CMB and its owners are notoriously media-shy and did not make a statement to elaborate on the company's financial situation.

Operating profit plunged 72.1 per cent to $113.65 million despite sales rising 3.1 per cent to $859.82 million.

Earnings per share were $3.83, down from $58.82 a year ago.

The company said it would pay shareholders a final dividend of 20 cents for a payout of $4.40 per share. It paid shareholders $5.81 per share last year.

**Please note that late Ngan Shing-kwan was not a rickshaw puller. He
was a founder of a rickshaw company.