Cashflow drops as QR increases expenditure

QR suffers 19 percent drop in cashflow and 14 percent increase in debt, according to its 2007/08 financial results

Queensland Rail suffered a 19 percent drop in operational cashflow and a 14 percent increase in debt as capital expenditure and a drop in productivity affected profits.

Although the carrier’s 2007/08 financial results show it increased its freight volumes and revenue, cashflow fell almost $200 million from $954 million last year to $776 million following a 16 percent jump in QR’s capital investment program.

While QR’s assets grew 15 percent to $11.4 billion, its debt levels increased 14 percent from $4.6 billion to $5.2 billion.

Net profit revenue grew from $183.2 million to $194.5 million. However, Prescott says the result could have been better.

"Revenue was adversely affected by reduced production at mines in central Queensland after major flooding in the final six months of the financial year," Prescott says.

Despite the loss in cashflow, Prescott says the expenditure is justified to ensure QR improves its services and achieves satisfactory results.

It spent $1.7 billion last year, while Prescott says another $8 billion will be invested the next five years.

Chief Executive Lance Hockridge says QR will focus on safety, commercial capability, customer focus and growth opportunities this financial year.

"Strong improvements in these areas will genuinely position QR for long-term commercial success in a buoyant transport and logistics market which is undergoing major transformation," Hockridge says.

He says QR is primed to take advantage of any opportunities from the booming resource sectors in Western Australia and Queensland and the strong growth in the general freight market.

Lat year’s freight volumes grew 3 percent from 238 million tonnes to 245 million, while dividends and shareholder funds increased in value.

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