QRN lifts earnings

QUEENSLAND Rail National’s net profit after tax fell 32% year-on-year to $A189 million for the last half of 2011 due to a significant tax credit in the previous year but its underlying earnings before interest and tax were up 11%.
QRN lifts earnings QRN lifts earnings QRN lifts earnings QRN lifts earnings QRN lifts earnings

Coal trains at Dalrymple Bay, image courtesy of QRN.

Blair Price

Arising from the privatisation of the rail operator, the second half of 2010 figures were boosted by a $281 million tax credit.

While revenue only improved 1% year-on-year during the 2011 second half , underlying EBIT was up 11% to $226 million.

In its key coal haulage business underlying EBIT improved 30% year-on-year. QRN said this was due to stronger above rail revenue rates, receipt of contract performance payments along with reduced labour and maintenance costs.

QRN had a “quality” half year result despite lingering impacts from the Queensland floods on coal mines and haulage volumes, according to its managing director Lance Hockridge.

The coal hauler signed a contract to build the Wiggins Island rail project in September, and has budgeted $362 million for new rolling stock to target the Hunter Valley coal market in New South Wales.

“Our committed expansions are delivering an extra 71 million tonnes of rail capacity over the next three years,” Hockridge said.

“This means QR National’s central Queensland coal network will have the capacity to move up to 300 million tonnes of coal per annum by 2015.”

In Queensland the long awaited Northern Missing Link project to bridge the 69km gap between the Goonyella and Newlands rail systems was completed in December.

“It supports the increase in capacity on the Newlands system of up to 50 million tonnes per year and provides the platform for potential future expansions of 200Mt and more on this corridor,” Lockridge said.

QRN shares are down 4c, or 1%, to $3.72 in early morning trade.