The Courier-Mail

Re­gional Ex­press profit dives 14pc

- DREW CRATCHLEY

FALL­ING pas­sen­ger num­bers due to a down­turn in the min­ing sec­tor have caused a 14 per cent profit fall for air­line Re­gional Ex­press.

Pas­sen­ger num­bers in the year to June were down 0.8 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year, even though the com­pany added five ad­di­tional routes in Queens­land un­der a new gov­ern­ment con­tract.

Higher en­gi­neer­ing costs also con­trib­uted to the de­cline in profit to $6.67 mil­lion. Ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Lim Kim Hai blamed a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing econ­omy for the down­turn in profit, with com­mod­ity prices fall­ing, re­tail spend­ing weak and un­em­ploy­ment on the rise.

“With such weak busi­ness sen­ti­ments, the ex­pected bot­tom­ing of Rex’s de­cline in pas­sen­ger num­bers did not ma­te­ri­alise and the year saw another de­cline, al­beit much smaller than pre­vi­ous years,” Mr Lim said.

The air­line has good prospects for growth in north Queens­land af­ter win­ning the State Gov­ern­ment reg­u­lated routes ten­der, and plans to ex­pand fur­ther into Cape York and the Tor­res Strait, he added.

A de­ci­sion on div­i­dends has been de­ferred to the com­pany’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Novem­ber due to fall­ing profit and un­cer­tain eco­nomic con­di­tions.

Rex shares were down 4.5 or 4.8 per cent, at 90 .

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