Costs put skids under profits at Chalmers

Revenues rise nicely but first half property and vehicle expenses and lower container volumes hurt

By Rob McKay | February 28, 2012

Cost increases have undermined the first half results of trucking and container services firm Chalmers.

Despite a 5 percent rise in revenues compared with the previous first half to $29.9 million, a combination of factors conspired to send its net profit down 34 percent to $1.29 million.

These included increased Brisbane property costs, a temporary softening of export volumes, increased vehicle running expenses and increased costs related to a new IT system.

Property and vehicle rises have been in the order of 20 percent, the company reports.

In Brisbane, this comes from port leasehold hike from the privatised port operating company and from additional warehousing capacity taken near the port precinct.

"Short notice by the landlord for the leasehold cost increase saw Chalmers having to initially absorb this cost before being able to adjust prices late in the December half," the company says.

"Furthermore, the additional warehouse capacity taken on during the period was required to maintain larger than anticipated holdings of customers’ goods for export.

"This was not wholly covered by improved storage and handling revenue."

Reduced export volumes, mostly in processed metals and primary produce, hurt the performance of its transport arm.

"It is expected that much of this slowing will be reversed in the second half as volumes catch up to expectations," Chalmers says.

"The extent of variability in seasonal shifts is expected to be more pronounced this year in the Queensland export market."

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