Main­freight keeps earth­quake costs at bay

Taranaki Daily News - - Business - CHRIS HUTCHING

Main­freight has im­proved its New Zealand profits even af­ter last year’s Kaikõura earth­quake in­creased the cost of mov­ing freight across the Cook Strait.

The com­pany, which is one of New Zealand’s big­gest cargo movers, used more road and coastal ship­ping in the ab­sence of the Kaiko¯ ura coastal rail­way.

Higher trade vol­umes and the com­pany’s ex­panded ware­hous­ing op­er­a­tion helped off­set the poorer re­sults of Main­freight’s over­seas di­vi­sions.

‘‘With rail ser­vices re­in­stated and func­tion­ing to the South Is­land from the start of Novem­ber, it is our ex­pec­ta­tion that our New Zealand do­mes­tic op­er­a­tions will out­per­form in the next six months,’’ Main­freight man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Don Braid said.

In spite of the chal­lenges, rev­enue for the New Zealand di­vi­sion was up 10.2 per cent at $316.87 mil­lion for the six months ended Septem­ber 2017.

For the do­mes­tic op­er­a­tions, profit be­fore in­ter­est, de­pre­ci­a­tion and tax was ahead 3.5 per cent of the pre­vi­ous cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod at $38.4m.

Do­mes­tic freight vol­umes are ahead of where they were this time last year. They will con­tinue to rise as pre-Christ­mas re­tail ac­tiv­ity builds towards its peak.

Main­freight’s air and ocean freight busi­ness was steady, with im­port rev­enues grow­ing over ex­ports. How­ever, the di­vi­sion had ex­pe­ri­enced qui­eter trade dur­ing Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber com­pared with the pre­vi­ous pe­riod.

The com­pany’s Aus­tralian op­er­a­tions im­proved, with profit well ahead and rev­enues up 13.7 per cent to A$292 mil­lion ($324m).

Per­for­mance in Asia was dis­ap­point­ing as rev­enue rose 19 per cent to $37m but profits fell by half.

Amer­i­can rev­enues fell 10 per cent along with profits due to the loss of a sig­nif­i­cant air freight ac­count.

Euro­pean op­er­a­tions fared bet­ter and Main­freight will in­vest more in lo­gis­tics in the Nether­lands and Bel­gium.

Over­all, the com­pany re­ported to­tal rev­enue up $83m, or 7.3 per cent over the same pe­riod last year, to $1.23 bil­lion.

Af­ter ac­count­ing for re­dun­dan­cies, in­ter­est and tax the net profit was up 1.1 per cent over the prior pe­riod at $42.77m.

A fully im­puted div­i­dend of 19 cents a share will be paid.

PHOTO: STUFF

Higher trade vol­umes and Main­freight’s ex­panded ware­hous­ing op­er­a­tion helped off­set the poorer re­sults of its over­seas di­vi­sions.

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