Qube bottom line masks strong performance


The long march to settled financial reporting is still underway for Qube Logistics but the underlying figures for the first half look very promising. <br /><br /> Qube Managing Director Maurice James tells ATN the firm is still “very much in transition".

By Rob McKay | February 24, 2012

The long march to settled and clear financial reporting is still underway for Qube Logistics but the underlying results for the first half look very promising.

Qube Managing Director Maurice James tells ATN the firm is still "very much in transition".

"Full year results will still be a mixed bag but beyond then it’ll be a lot clearer," James adds

The headline number - at $8.18 million, a fall of 77.7 percent – was alarming but the company says the figures were not comparable, including, as it does, $47.5 million in one-off costs associated with the previous trust structure.

Qubes logistics arm saw earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) up 67 percent to $32.3 million, on a 49 percent rise in revenues to $244.5 million.

The ports and bulk division’s EBITDA rose 63 percent to $23.9 million on a 21 percent rise in revenues to $150.4 million.

"Qube’s operating businesses generated very strong revenue and earnings during the period due to a combination of organic growth and the contribution from acquisitions and new projects," James says.

"Qube’s scale, diversity and reputation for providing reliable, competitive logistics services has enabled both the Logistics and Ports & Bulk divisions to achieve record results in what has been a very challenging economic and industrial relations environment."

The purchases included Troncs in January 2011 and Mackenzie Intermodal in July.

Helping also were further investment in facilities, systems and equipment relative strength of the first half earnings due to the seasonality of the business.

Ports and bulk gained from Utah Point bulk stockpiling and loading facility operating at capacity from March 2011 and achieving annualised throughput of approximately 10 million tonnes and Strong bulk and project volumes at other ports including those operated by associates.

However, that division was hindered somewhat by costs relating to industrial action and reduced vehicle imports in October and November due to Thailand floods.

The steady growth of container throughput remains a boon to the division.

"Despite the retail environment, the volumes are still reasonably healthy in the ports," James says.

"Then the resources side complements us with the two-speed economy."

Qube holds 30 percent of the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (Simta), which owns land at Moorebank.

Simta submitted the concept development application during the period and is waiting on the New South Wales Government to complete its "test of adequacy" review.

The result is "expected shortly".

Discussions are continuing with the Federal Government regarding rail access and development timetables.

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