SBS, SMRT Shares Jump After Minister Comments on Singapore Rail

SBS Transit Ltd. rose to its highest level in more than four years, leading gains of two train companies in Singapore, after the nation’s transport minister suggested the regulator should also oversee train operators’ assets.

SBS gained as much as 9.4 percent to S$2.10, its highest intraday price since February 2011, and was up 6.8 percent to S$2.05 as of 10:53 a.m. SMRT Corp., the city-state’s largest train operator, rose as much as 6.4 percent.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan hinted at integrating the design and maintenance of trains under one entity, in comments made at a forum that were published Friday on the Straits Times newspaper website. Khaw’s predecessor resigned earlier in 2015 after criticism over multiple train disruptions in recent years.

“Creating an excellent rail system requires an integrated approach, from design and construction, right through to actual operations and maintenance,” Khaw was quoted as saying. “Our current model separates the designer and builder, LTA, from the maintainer and operator, SMRT and SBST,” he said. LTA, or the Land Transport Authority, is the regulator.

For this reason, Khaw said, he had instructed the LTA to build up its engineering crew. 

“They must establish a team that is able to take on operations and maintenance, if we decide to move in that direction,” the minister said.

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