Light Rapid Transit operator incurred MOP422.9 mln in expenses in 2019

The public company responsible for the management of the Taipa Light Rapid Transit line indicated in a new annual report for 2019 that it incurred MOP422.9 million (US$52.9 million) in expenses by the end of that year and registered no income from ticket sales.

The Taipa LRT line only officially opened to the public on December 10 and carried a total number of about 662,000 passengers until December 31, 2019 with tickets free of charge in that first month of operation.

In its 2019 financial report published in the Official Gazette in June, the company indicated have had MOP11.1 million in profits in its first financial annual report despite the service being open to the public for less than a month and free of charge.

Yesterday, the newly created new Macau SAR Public Assets Supervision Planning Office revealed that it had received, reviewed and published the corporate structure of 12 public companies where the administration holds a stake equal or higher than 50 per cent, including Macao Light Rapid Transit Corporation.

In this new financial report for last year, the company provides some insight on how it achieved that profit ammount.

Macao Light Rapid Transit Corporation, Limited (MLM) was created as a limited liability company on June 15 2019 and officially started operating on August 1 last year, with a total MOP1.4 billion in registered capital, of which 93 per cent is held by the Macau SAR Government, 3 per cent by the Industrial and Commercial Development Fund (FDIC) and 1 per cent by the Science, Technology and Development Fund (FDCT).

MLM is responsible for construction and maintenance of the infrastructure and equipment for the LRT, its operation, plus advertisement and commercial services.

In September 2019, the Macau SAR Government also signed a 10-year concession contract with MLM for the operation, exploration and maintenance of the LRT including the operation and maintenance of Taipa Line.

According to MLM, its annual revenue in 2019 amounted to MOP434.1 million, of which 99.9 per cent comes from Macau SAR government support and MOP188,745 from bank interest rates.

The company incurred in MOP422.9 million expenses last year, with MOP399.6 million coming from 12 service contracts during the October to December period, and MOP23.3 million from operational expenses.

Therefore the public company concluded it had MOP11 million in profits for 2019, and added that personnel expenses had decreased as not new employees were hired and wages for management had decreased.

These financial results were audited by KPMG International Cooperative which did not make any remarks, according to the report.

Taipa LRT fares only started being charged in February of this year with fares between MOP6 and MOP10, with reduced prices for children, students, and the elderly.

Despite an average number of 16,000 passengers per day reported in January, the average daily number of passengers has drooped to numbers between 1,100 to 1,400 since February until April.

MLM is headed by Ho Cheong Kei, the former Director of the now abolished Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT), with the current Economic Services Bureau (DSE) Director, Tai Kin Ip, also in the administration board.