Publicly listed taxi firm Blue Bird Group managed to maintain double-digit growth in its profits as of September this year despite the country’s weaker economy and growing competition from mobile application-based transportation services.
The company’s profits rose 13.5 percent to Rp 881.27 billion (US$63.9 million) in the January-September period of this year, from Rp 776 billion in the same period last year, according to the stock exchange filing of its unaudited financial report.
“We’ve tried to keep up our performance, as well as our fleet expansion and our revenue,” Blue Bird operational director Adrianto Djokosoetono said on Saturday.
He went on to say that the presence of the ever-growing mobile app-based ride services such as Go-Jek, GrabBike and Uber had not affected the company’s performance so far, as proven by the double-digit growth.
Adrianto added that the number of passengers had also increased, as indicated by the 16.27 percent increase in revenue to Rp 4 trillion in the first nine months of the year, compared with Rp 3.44 trillion year-on-year (yoy).
Blue Bird aims to book around Rp 5.56 trillion in revenue by the end of this year. “We’re at Rp 4 trillion, so I think we can achieve it,” he said, referring to the year-end target.
The company has so far purchased 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles this year from its Rp 2 trillion capital expenditure (capex) program, which was reduced from around Rp 2.36 trillion last year due to the weak economy.
It plans to add around 500 to 1,000 new vehicles in the remainder of this year, according to Adrianto. The new vehicles will add to the company’s existing 32,500 in 2014.
Blue Bird has bought fewer vehicles than it did last year with an estimated 5,900 units purchased, comprising 2,500 to 3,000 new vehicles as well as refitted older models.
“We could have had greater capital expenditure. […] We adjust to demand, the pace needs to be adjusted with the existing conditions,” he said.
It was previously stated that the company would use more than half of this year’s total capex to purchase new vehicles, 15 percent would be used to build new taxi pools, and the rest would go for supporting infrastructure and maintenance.
Blue Bird, which currently still holds the highest taxi market share of 43.6 percent, has been permitted by the government to increase its fleet by up to 6,000 this year, but will not use the permits given the slowing expansion plans.
The company had also opened two new pools in Jakarta in October and four in cities such as Makassar, South Sulawesi, and Surabaya, East Java, earlier in the year, Adrianto said. It would open two more pools in the fourth quarter.
“One will be in Jakarta and the other elsewhere in Java,” he said, declining to reveal the location.
Adrianto also noted that the government’s relaxation of its regulation on meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition (MICE) had also helped the company’s performance in the third quarter, after it detected a slowdown in passenger numbers following the government’s austerity measures earlier in the year