Proud Hockridge says IPO vindicated

“Vitriolic” commentary from the media scared off potential investors, QR National CEO Lance Hockridge says as half year results shine

Proud Hockridge says IPO vindicated
Proud Hockridge vindicates IPO

By Anna Game-Lopata | February 28, 2011

"Vitriolic" commentary from the media scared off potential investors, QR National Chief Executive Officer Lance Hockridge says as the company's half year results shine.

Despite the "floods, fire and pestilence" with which the company was beset in its first three months as a private company, CEO Lance Hockridge chooses to see the IPO as the company’s liberation.

"Through what has been the most extraordinary set of events, our people have shown resilience, our assets have withstood the onslaught and we’re back in full production looking forward to ongoing performance," Hockridge says.

Hockridge says over the three months since listing, QR National retail investors have enjoyed a return of well in excess of 25 per cent and institutional investors, well in excess of 20 percent.

"The vitriolic commentary about the company and its IPO has proven to be wrong,"
Hockridge says.

"It’s particularly unfortunate that some of the smaller share holders in this part of the world were scared off by that media and other commentary."

Hockridge also says the industry must constantly remind itself that it is there to serve its customers and ultimately the nation.

"Sometimes we’re so focused on the inputs to reform that we see those as a means to an end rather than understanding that infrastructure investment and regulatory reforms are about improving the outputs for our customers," he says.

"Our focus ought to be on innovation.

"We need to focus on the entire value chain, which is intrinsically linked to productivity whether it’s technology, products, services, operations or our business models."

Hockridge argues there is a mismatch between the research conducted by industry organisations and the outputs seen in the field.

"For example there’s great work done by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) but where is evidence of output?"

"We need to reflect on innovation around the world to see what can be achieved such as the renewed focus on cooperation between the modes in North America."

"Our board and management are predominantly focused on delivering superior returns for our shareholders as well as looking after our interests in the community,"
Hockridge says.

"Our focus is on the future of the transport value chain and delivering high quality results.

"More than ever, we need to focus on the big picture, thinking in 20 to 40 year horizons.

"We want to be part of the debate we want to be part of the solutions," Hockridge says.

According to Hockridge, the need to improve infrastructure through investment, the need for streamlined regulations and the availability of a skilled workforce are issues on
his agenda.

But Hockridge says safety should be at the top of the list.

"Our company is representative of that change. Over the last 3 years we have reduced our incidence of accidents. Our ‘lost time injury frequency’ is less than 30 percent than it was three years ago.

"In January for first time, we had a month of no lost time injuries but we are a long way away from being world class. We need to focus on driving that reform in the industry."

Hockridge is very positive about the future.

"We are in a post-GFC resurgent economy with unsurpassed opportunities," he says.

"We are embarking on the largest expansion of our energy and minerals sectors that this country has ever seen."

"The need to deliver transport and export infrastructure with appropriate speed and efficiency to keep ahead of demand is all important.

"Are we going to look back in a decade and lament another opportunity lost or are we going to take hold and really deliver a safe, superior outcome customers and shareholders?"

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