Toll to keep expanding as operations boom

Toll commits to more acquisitions and says it is well-placed to benefit from recovering economy

Toll to keep expanding as operations boom
Toll to keep expanding as operations boom
By Michael House | October 29, 2009

Transport heavyweight Toll has committed to more acquisitions and says its Asian operations have left it well-placed to benefit from a recovering economy.

Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting today, Toll Managing Director Paul Little says his company is on track to improve its financial targets despite tough economic conditions.

The operator has forecast $1.1 billion in earnings from recent acquisitions and Little says "a number of very good prospects are currently being pursued" as potential acquisitions.

A spokesperson for the company recently told ATN Toll would look at stricken carrier Mannway as a possible target.

Toll announced a $270 million profit in August, with Global Forwarding and Toll Asia playing a vital role in adding to the company’s bottom line.

"Toll is excellently positioned to benefit from economic recovery, particularly in our global forwarding and express activities throughout Asia Pacific," Little says.

"While Australia continued to be the key contributor to group earnings, its percentage contribution reduced marginally as Toll Global Forwarding and Toll Asia enhanced their respective positions," Little says.

The end-of-year profit is a major turnaround from losses of $695 million a year earlier.

"Whilst economic activity remains generally flatter across most industry sectors compared to pre global financial crisis levels, volumes are showing signs of improvement, and the company's financial performance is in line with its targets, year to date," Little says.

Little also used the AGM as an opportunity to address environmental issues by saying the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) will change the way transport operators do business.

"The planned introduction of the CPRS will add cost and complexity to the Australian economy and Toll by placing a cost on carbon for the first time," he says.

"Increased costs from carbon tax will be reflected in increased fuel and energy costs and ultimately our charges."

Little says Toll remains committed to "significantly reducing" the levels of greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of schemes including an improvement in operating efficiency, reductions in electricity and gas and warehouses and the use of alternate fuels.

Little says a modal shift from road to rail is a major opportunity to reduce emissions, and also comes with the benefit of reducing costs to customers.

"Whilst a shift from road to rail or rail to sea usually provides customers with a reduced freight cost as well as being an environmental winner, we can’t do it without the cooperation of our client and infrastructure providers," Little says.

Toll has also committed to improving its safety record, with Little vowing to reach a ‘no injuries’ goal.

Despite the growth of the logistics and transport giant, Little says the number of employee injuries has fallen.

"We have achieved a great reduction rate in our injury frequency rate over the past eight years whilst at the same time continuing to significantly grow the company," he says.

"As a leading innovative service company, we are committed to working with employees, contractors and customers to achieve our committed goal."

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