MTR Corp Ltd will seek to enlarge its overseas businesses as the Hong Kong market has matured, chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said.
According to its financial report for last year, the company said about 5 percent of its HK$9.4 billion profit had come from overseas business.
It also suffered a 13.3 percent drop in profit last year.
Speaking during his visit to Britain, Ma said developing a new rail line from scratch in the SAR could take up to nine years, and there is also the risk of losing money in the process.
As the company already owned close to 50 percent of the franchised public transport market in Hong Kong, room for growing its local business was limited, he added.
After a brain-storming session early this year, MTRCL board members agreed to expand the firm’s business overseas, Ma said.
“The decision was made with consideration of the shareholders. We must seek to grow the business of the company continuously,” he said.
If the corporation’s profit rises, MTR passengers will also benefit via fare discounts, as part of the profit- sharing mechanism stipulated in the Fare Adjustment Mechanism, Ma said.
In recent years, the company was able to win highly competitive tenders for operating rights of overseas railways, he said.
“Not many Hong Kong companies can become internationally renowned. Hong Kong people should be proud of the MTRCL’s achievement,” he said.
In July 2014 , MTRCL got the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) Train Operating Concession in Britain.
In March this year, the British Department for Transport awarded the South Western rail franchise to First MTR South Western Trains Ltd – a joint venture between MTRCL and Britain’s FirstGroup.
The South Western rail covers urban, suburban, regional, and long- distance routes between London Waterloo and south western England, including Bristol, Exeter, and Portsmouth.
It began service last month.
Apart from Britain, MTRCL also operates and manages Melbourne’s Metropolitan Rail Service in Australia, Stockholm Metro, Stockholm commuter rail, and Stockholm Gothenburg Intercity Express Service.