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QR National hauls in $1.7b revenue

Recently privatised QR National announces an 18 percent increase in first-half revenue

By Jayne Munday | February 28, 2011

Recently privatised QR National has announced an 18 percent increase in first-half revenue, and expects global demand for Australian coal and iron ore to underpin further growth.

In its financial update today, the rail freight haulage business reported revenue of $1.7 billion, up by $266 million over the prior comparable period.

Underlying EBITDA was up 17 percent to $446 million; underlying EBIT was up 31 percent to $226 million; and statutory NPAT was $278 million.

Commenting on the operational impacts of the recent wet weather in Queensland, Managing Director and CEO Lance Hockridge says record rainfall in the second quarter “significantly affected” coal volumes and impacted the half year.

“Our focus has been on swift action and working closely with customers to maximise railings of available coal,” Hockridge says in a statement to ASX.

“All our systems were operational within a short timeframe and we now have more trains available than coal supply,” he says. “This reflects the resilience of our assets in the face of extreme weather conditions.”

QR National’s overall first half revenue of $895 million for coal grew by 3 percent and revenue per net tonne kilometre rose by 8 percent, despite the wet weather.

In terms of freight, revenue grew by 18 percent, or $104 million, to $686 million.

Taking into consideration the impact of the flood and cyclone on operations, including $4 million for track repairs to date, QR National expects underlying EBIT for the 2011 financial year to be in the range of $380 million to $410 million.

“Looking further ahead the Company continues to focus on growing returns to our shareholders through high quality service to customers, working our assets harder, enhancing productivity and efficiency, and embedding a strong capital discipline into the business,” Hockridge says.

He says major infrastructure projects, including GAPE X50 and Blackwater Electrification, remain on schedule.

“Global demand for Australian coal and iron ore is expected to continue along the current growth trajectory.

“This demand will underpin QR National’s own growth and diversity initiatives.”

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