Knutsford Express southern routes continue to boost sales; profit jumps

Friday, July 18, 2014

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CROSS-COUNTRY bus provider Knutsford Express Services continued to benefit from increased passengers from its acquisition of southern routes, its May fourth-quarter results indicate.

It resulted in Knutsford posting $22.9 million in net profit for the fourth quarter, or 52 per cent higher than the $14.8 million earned a year prior.

For the twelve months net profit increased to $49 million from $35 million a year earlier.

"In the fourth quarter our new south coast routes enjoyed increased ridership, signalling readiness for further enhancements to our schedule on this side of the island," stated a joint statement from CEO Oliver Townsend and chairman Gordon Townsend posted to the financials.

Revenues for the period under review increased to $96 million or 88 per cent higher than levels a year earlier, attributed to significant increases in its two core business segments -- passenger ridership and courier services.

Knutsford operates its bus services along Jamaica's north and south coasts connecting the eastern city of Kingston to western parishes.

It offers scheduled coach transportation, courier service, private hire, and special event shuttles.

Knutsford Express raised just under $100 million through an initial public offer (IPO) of 20 million shares or 20 per cent of the firm last December. The listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange Junior Market allowed the company to qualify for a five-year break on income tax.

Total assets at $214.7 million in May, was roughly three-quarters higher than the $133 million it held on its books a year earlier.

Incorporated in 2006, Knutsford Express launched with 28 departures weekly between Montego Bay and Kingston, the island's two major cities.

The company now has 105 departures weekly and has expanded its reach to Falmouth, Negril, Savanna-la-Mar, and Mandeville, having acquired competitor SouthCoast Express last year.

The company had projected that its future performance would be boosted by the maturation of routes acquired from SouthCoast and greater efficiencies. The impact of the acquisition was reflected in the strong third-quarter performance, according to the directors' report.

Knutsford's administrative and general expenses for the fourth quarter under review at $72 million nearly doubled from the $35 million a year earlier. Those expenses when annualised totalled $268.7 million from $138.7 million a year earlier.

Its investment in renewable energy should yield 40 per cent reduction in electricity costs, according to the IPO prospectus, which added that the fuel cost to revenue ratio should also fall with the addition of more fuel-efficient vehicles.




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