Armed with his lifelong ambition to “own [a] little piece of the sky”, Mr Teo Kiang Ang went from delivering gas cylinders to becoming one of the market leaders in the LPG industry in Singapore.
He then founded Trans-Cab in 2003 with 50 cabs after the Government liberalised the taxi market, which saw ComfortDelGro as the monopoly then.
Trans-Cab grew quickly to become the second largest taxi operator, recording a fleet size of 5,000 cabs in 2014 and a turnover of over $174 million in 2013.
Now, the businessman is eyeing a slice of the car financing and leasing pies, according to The Straits Times (ST).
The firm is investing $30 million in Trans Credit and an additional $5 million in Trans Leasing.
This expansion comes as private-hire services zoom ahead in growth, leaving the taxi industry in its dust trails.
Overall, the number of taxis in Singapore has dropped from 28,000 to under 20,000 since private-hire firms like Grab made its entrance six years ago.
Trans-Cab is reported to have just over 3,000 taxis now.
Currently, its car leasing arm has 60 cars comprising mainly of Toyota Prius and Altis models.
Mr Teo expects to grow the fleet to “300 to 400 cars” and private-hire drivers to make up 10% of their business by the end of 2019.
As for the car financing arm, he revealed that they “get very low interest rates from the banks” so they are able to “offer competitive rates”.
Both of these new businesses are open to anyone, including existing Trans-Cab drivers and former ones who left to become private-hire drivers.
The 69-year-old entrepreneur is contemplating venturing into car importing to “complement his two new businesses” in the future, but his hands are tied now.
ST found that Trans-Cab posted an after-tax profit of $10.4 million after $104.6 million in revenue for the year ended 31 December 2018.
It was down from $28.1 million on revenue of $160.1 million in 2014, based on their ACRA record.
The taxi firm’s net margin also saw a decline, from 17.6% to 9.9%, ST reported.
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