Asciano buoyed by coal market recovery

ASCIANO posted a $A975.9 million net loss after tax in its annual results yesterday, but its Pacific National coal haulage business increased revenue 27.5% year-on-year to $672.6 million.
Asciano buoyed by coal market recovery Asciano buoyed by coal market recovery Asciano buoyed by coal market recovery Asciano buoyed by coal market recovery Asciano buoyed by coal market recovery

 

Blair Price

The big net loss came on the back of a $1.14 billion writedown of its assets in the six months to June, which mainly centred on its Patrick ports division.

Pacific National increased its earnings before interest and tax by 60% to $139.5 million for the recent financial year as coal exports ramped up and it successfully entered the Queensland coal haulage market.

“If we combine the seven contracts, signed with customers in Queensland and NSW for both existing and growth volumes we have, in 2010, secured over $3.3 billion of total revenues over an average term of ten years, this is a significant achievement for the Pacific National Coal business,” Asciano chief executive and managing director Mark Rowsthorn said.

About 14.5 million tonnes of coal was hauled in Queensland during the period while haulage volumes increased by 4% in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

The company is expecting its key NSW haulage market to increase by at least 50% in the medium-term.

Asciano is planning to spend $400 million this financial year on rail rolling stock and coal facility development in both states – up from $358 million spent in the previous 12 months.

Asciano’s immediate corporate goal is to refinance $500 million of debt before the end of 2010, while the company needs to prepare for $2.25 billion of debt maturing in 2012.

Shares in the company are unchanged at $1.675 this morning.

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