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Aurizon first-half profit jumps 52pc

Prashant Mehra  |  12 Feb 2018Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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SYDNEY - [AAP] Aurizon Holdings (ASX: AZJ) first-half profit has jumped 52 per cent from the previous corresponding period, when its accounts were weighed down by impairments and one-off items.

The rail freight operator says profit for the six months to December had to $281.5 million, from $185.8 million a year ago.

However, underlying earnings before interest and tax are down five per cent at $485.3 million.

Chief executive Andrew Harding says the company is realising improved operational and customer service performance through its simplified business unit structure.

"During the half, board and management have maintained a sharp focus on the key priorities highlighted to the market in 2017 and this is reflected in today's solid results," he said.

Aurizon grew haulage tonnes in the coal business on the back of continuing strong demand for metallurgical and thermal coal but warned that a competitive haulage market was putting some pressure on contract prices.

In the bulk business, it has continued with cost reductions and operational reforms as part of its turnaround plan.

The network business posted a three per cent improvement in volumes for the half-year, but Aurizon warned that a draft decision by the Queensland Competition Authority to allow lower-than-expected earnings from the business over the five years to June 2021 could have an impact on the supply chain.

It said it will start implementing changes as per the decision and estimated the net impact of these will reduce the amount of coal it hauls in Queensland by around 20 million tonnes annually.

Aurizon reaffirmed its expectation that full-year underlying earnings will be in the range of $900 to $960 million and declared a partially-franked interim dividend of 14 cents per share.

AURIZON'S HALF-YEAR RESULTS

* Statutory net profit of $281.5m vs $185.8m year ago

* Revenue down 3pc to $1.565bn

* Interim dividend of 14 cents, 50pc franked, from 13.6cps

 

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