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|Asciano lifts 1H profits and dividend
Takeover target Asciano has lifted its first half profit on the back of strong coal haulage volumes but warns its earnings for the full year could still be flat.
Australia's largest rail and ports operator posted net profit of $199.8 million for the half year to December 31, up 5.3 per cent from a year ago.
However, this was partially offset by weaker volumes from its Western Australia and resources related businesses, resulting in a 4.3 per cent decline in revenue.
'The company has reported a solid result . despite the ongoing weakness in some areas of the economy impacting volumes and thus topline growth,' chief executive John Mullen said on Wednesday.
Underlying earnings before interest and tax fell 2.8 per cent to $391.1 million because of increased depreciation after investments in recent years.
Asciano says it expects to report flat to low single digit growth in earnings for the full year, as revenue growth continues to be weak in the soft business environment and after a likely increase in depreciation costs.
Asciano handles nearly half of all container traffic entering or leaving Australia and through its Patrick ports and related businesses, and also owns the Pacific National rail freight business.
The company is subject to a $9.05 billion takeover offer from rival consortiums led by local logistics firm Qube Holdings and Canadian infrastructure giant Brookfield.