Dubai road toll operator Salik, which listed its shares on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) last year, posted a net profit of UAE Dirhams 529 million ($144 million) for the second half of 2022 (H2 2022), as road traffic in Dubai rose to pre-pandemic levels.

The company’s board of directors has proposed to distribute 100% of H2 2022 net profit after deducting UAE Dirhams 37.5 million statutory reserve, equivalent to UAE Dirhams 491.4 million or 6.5521 fils per share, it said in a regulatory filing on DFM on Tuesday.

The company had previously reported a full-year profit of AED 1.326 billion ($361 million) for 2022, down from AED 1.38 billion a year ago.

In its latest statement, Salik said it expects the number of revenue-generating trips through its eight toll gates to fully recover to increase by 5% to 6% in 2023, and guides for an EBITDA margin of 63% to 64%.

“The strong increase in toll road usage was a key driver of our success, compounded by traffic levels in the fourth quarter of 2022 having recovered to pre-pandemic levels. I am pleased to report that Salik enjoyed robust profitability in 2022, with an EBITDA margin of 67.5% for the latter half of 2022,” said Ibrahim Sultan Al Hadda, CEO of Salik.

In 2022, the total number of trips made through Salik’s eight toll gates increased approximately 12% year on year to 539 million trips, from 481 million trips a year earlier.

This was due to the continued recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as restrictions were fully lifted in Dubai, as well as by the positive growth resulting from Expo 2020 in the first quarter of the year. Revenue-generating trips, in turn, increased about 13% to around 413 million trips from 367 million in 2021, the company said.