ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong unrest deals $200m profit blow to city's rail operator

MTR Corp blames vandalism and depressed ridership for financial woes

Anti-government protesters destroy ticket machines at Hong Kong's Tai Wai Station in October.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU -- Hong Kong protests will cost the city's transportation network operator more than $200 million in profit, the company said Thursday, citing damage to trains and fewer passengers as some of the biggest expenses incurred during the past six months of unrest.

MTR Corp. blamed "social unrest" for decreased passenger traffic, as well as the mounting costs of repairing or replacing vandalized property. The state-owned operator, which is also a major developer and landlord in the city, also pointed to the cost of enhancing security, and the expense of supporting retail tenants adversely affected by the turmoil.

Those factors will squeeze net profit from operations in Hong Kong by 1.6 billion Hong Kong dollars ($203 million), said MTR compared to HK$9 billion for last year. The consolidated net profit was HK$16 billion in 2018.

Travelers to Hong Kong, mostly from mainland China, decreased sharply after large anti-government protests began in June. MTR's passenger volume dropped by 14.2% from a year earlier during the July-November period.

When the violence between the police and demonstrators escalated in October and November, MTR's ridership plunged by more than 27% during each of those two months.

MTR has been besieged by damages stemming from both sides of the protests. Some demonstrators set fire to train station entryways and destroyed ticket machines. Meanwhile, many businesses had to close to protect merchandise from tear gas fired by police. This has hurt MTR's real estate operations.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends April 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media