Revenue from its Hong Kong transport operations rose from $HK 18.2bn to $HK 19.4bn while revenue from mainland China and international railway, property rental and management subsidiaries rose to $HK 20.8bn, up from $HK 17.1bn.

Expenses from the Hong Kong transport operations increased from $HK 10.7bn to $HK 11.3bn, while expenses relating to MTR’s mainland China and international railway, property rental and management subsidiaries increased from $HK 16.2bn to $HK 20bn. Overall operating expenses before depreciation, amortisation and variable annual payment dropped slightly from $HK 35.4bn to $HK 35bn.

The performance of MTR’s rail businesses outside of Hong Kong was mixed, as it faced serious challenges in both the Stockholm Pendeltågen commuter rail service and the South Western Railway (SWR) franchise, of which it is a 30% shareholder with First Group.

SWR’s financial performance in 2018 was impacted by factors including an industry-wide slowdown in growth in passenger numbers, strikes, the delayed introduction of timetable changes and incidents involving infrastructure under the control of British infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR). MTR says that if these factors continue to adversely affect SWR, the long-term financial viability of the franchise will be impacted.

In Sweden, 2018 was very challenging operationally and financially for the MTR Pendeltågen commuter service in Stockholm. MTR says issues relating to a nationwide lack of drivers and train availability and maintenance, as well as a new, more complex timetable introduced in combination with poorly-performing infrastructure led to higher operating costs and significant penalties relating to punctuality and customer satisfaction. While actions to rectify the satiation are having an initial effect, MTR says the operation will likely remain loss making for a number of years.

Other overseas businesses either met or exceeded MTR’s expectations. In Britain, MTR Crossrail began operating TfL Rail services between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport while in April 2018, MTR was awarded the operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for the Macau Light Rapid Transit Taipa Line.

The results were released on March 7, the same day MTR announced Dr Jacob Kam had been appointed CEO for a three-year term with effect from April 1, while Mr Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen had been appointed chairman of the MTR board of directors for two-and-a-half years, with effect from July 1.

MTR says the launch of operations on the Guangzhou - Shenzhen - Hong Kong high-speed line (HSR) on September 23 opened a new chapter for Hong Kong rail transport, while the company also achieved an on-time record of 99.9% for its heavy-rail services.

Future projects

MTR says the Shatin - Central Link project in Hong Kong continues to make progress, and it continues to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry who submitted its interim report to the chief executive on February 25.

MTR is also providing the Hong Kong government with further information to enable it to move ahead with five projects included in the Railway Development Strategy 2014 (RDS 2014), including the Tuen Mun South Extension (TMS), Northern Link and Kwu Tung Station (NOL), East Kowloon Line (EKL), Tung Chung West Extension and Tung Chung East Station (TCW), and North Island Line (NIL). MTR is also preparing to receive the invitation from the government for proposals for the remaining two projects under RDS 2014: Hung Shui Kiu Station and the South Island Line (West).


Despite economic uncertainties, MTR says it expects sustained trends of increasing urbanisation and environmental awareness will lend solid support and present opportunities to its rail businesses, while continued economic growth and full year contribution from HSR will support passenger volume increases. Businesses outside of Hong Kong are expected to continue performing reasonably overall, but the group is still working to overcome the challenges in Europe.