Aurizon has increased its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by 10 per cent on the previous year’s results and a 12 per cent increase in profit.
This improvement was largely driven by increased earnings from Aurizon’s managing of the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN) and strong performance of the company’s bulk business.
These results include the impact of COVID-19 on the business, which managing director and CEO Andrew Harding said had limited impact.
“Despite the emergence of COVID-19 in the second half of FY2020, the Company has delivered a solid operational and financial performance with no material impact as a result of the pandemic,” said Harding.
With much of Aurizon’s business involving the haulage of metallurgical coal, consistent steel production in China and a rebound of steel production in India in May and June helped the freight operator through the COVID-19 period. In addition, a drop in US metallurgical coal exports contributed.
In Aurizon’s coal business, it added new customers including Peabody and Bluescope and added volume in the contract with Coronado.
On the bulk side of the business, Aurizon added contracts with BGC for cement products from Kalgoorlie. Aurizon extended its contracts with South32 Cannington and Incitec Pivot, both on the Mt Isa corridor. Aurizon began the operation and maintenance of a ballast cleaning machine for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara and there was an increase in demand from Mineral Resources. These led to a 21 per cent increase in revenue from bulk operations.
In Aurizon’s management of the CQCN there was a shortfall of volume. Volumes are expected to be lower in the next year due to COVID-19.
Aurizon also reported on its safety record over the 2019-2020 financial year. While there was a 10 per cent improvement in the total recordable injury frequency rate, there was an 8 per cent deterioration in rail process safety performance.