Aurizon first half in black despite impairments


Solid container haulage growth may help stave off intermodal divestment

Aurizon first half in black despite impairments
Changes continue at Aurizon

 

Rail-focused multimodal haulage firm Aurizon recorded a $54 million net profit for the financial year’s first half after foreshadowed impairments.

This was up $162 million on last year’s first half and included ‘significant items’ of $345 million.

Revenues were up one per cent to $1.781 billion.

As noted in its earlier pre-result warning and before that, Aurizon is undergoing an ongoing ‘transformation project’ that has hit the bottom line but which management hopes will drive out unwanted costs.

Operating costs fell 6 per cent to $1.006 billion for the half, with employee costs down $25 million to $23 million, and the company is aiming for $389 million in gains next financial year.

"Across the business, we are taking a very disciplined approach to managing costs and capital to drive value for our shareholders," MD and CEO Andrew Harding says.

"While capital expenditure has reduced and the business is generating strong cashflows, I have a clear view we are able to achieve greater efficiencies, further cost reductions and productivity improvements, while maintaining our commitment to customers and to safety.

"From an international perspective, we are seeing strong demand for quality Australian resources, including metallurgical and thermal coal, in a strengthened price environment.

"This is good news for our customers, for the industry and for Aurizon, and could present future volume and growth opportunities."

As of last month, the firm’s intermodal freight arm is now a standalone entity reporting directly to Harding.

Despite speculation that it might be sold off, helping the argument to keep it will be recent growth.

Twenty-foot equivalent units container transport rose 10 per cent to 212,000 on the previous first half and was up from 179,700 in the previous half.

It has also started its five-year K&S Freighters port container shuttle deal at Sydney’s Enfield that it confirmed was expected to be worth $20-25 million a year.

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