TCL 0.72% $13.98 transurban group

transurban to boost its full-year distribution

  1. 29 Posts.
    Tolls keep Transurban in tune
    Author: Ben Schneiders
    Date: 27/08/2003 21:49:00
    Words: 373
    Publication: Financial Review
    Section: Companies
    Page: 17
    Source: AFRBreaking

    Rising toll revenue has allowed Transurban to boost its full-year distribution even though the toll road operator reported a large bottom-line loss.

    The final payout was increased from 3y to 10y a security to give a total distribution of 20y a security, in line with brokers' estimates.

    Toll revenue for the period rose by 10.7 per cent to $223.16 million.

    Managing director Kim Edwards expects revenue growth in 2004 to be about the same as this year.

    He also expects an increase in the distribution, although he would not provide a forecast.

    "This year has been a rough year," he said

    , citing shocks such as the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the Iraq war and the drought, all of which could crimp freight and therefore tolls.

    But if things settled down, he said, revenue growth would be of the same order next year.

    The net loss for the year was $83.6 million, as the result was hit by depreciation charges of $148.2 million. The previous year's loss - which covered just over six months - was $67.2 million.

    Mr Edwards said Transurban was depreciating Melbourne's CityLink toll road "quite heavily" after it was revalued upwards last year.

    Accounting losses are expected to continue until 2008 or 2009 as Transurban and its assets move out of the development phase and into a more mature company.

    Mr Edwards said a better pointer to financial health was the company's operating surplus - revenue less operating costs before interest - which improved by $34 million to $175.3 million. He said borrowing costs had been reduced by 24 per cent after Transurban refinanced $1.7 billion in debt a year ago.

    Over the next five to 10 years, Transurban expects growth to come from CityLink and the Western Sydney Orbital, which is expected to be operational by 2007.

    Mr Edwards said there was up to nine potential projects Transurban would investigate over the next decade in places such as Auckland, Melbourne and in Queensland.

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