AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Patrick reports 26% profit jump and focus on terminal plans

<p>Patrick Corp has reported half-year earnings after tax and before significant items up 26% to $96.2m in the six months to March 31. </p> <p>Net profits including significant items, which included $32m from the Virgin Blue float, was $122m.</p> <p>Gross revenue for the group including the stakes in Virgin Blue and Pacific National was up 14% to $1.254bn.</p> <p>In the individual segments, earnings before interest, tax, and amortisation was up 30% at Pacific National, 47% at Virgin Blue, and up 14% in the consolidated result. </p> <p>Managing director Chris Corrigan said that the growth is now coming from organic development rather than acquisition.</p> <p>The company’s focus is at present on the redevelopment of its container terminals, he said. </p> <p>Mr Corrigan said that transfer of quay cranes from Patrick’s existing Fisherman Islands facilities to the new automated terminal will start by the end of this year, with berths 7 and 8 operating by mid-2005 and berths 8 and 9 following to create 800 metres of quay line. </p> <p>Delivery of the rubber-tyred gantries for the rebuilt Port Botany road-rail interchange and yard will be in the third quarter of 2005.</p> <p>Mr Corrigan said that extension plans for the entire Swanson Dock complex could boost capacity from 740,000 teu to 2m teu, but depend on a clear direction from the Port of Melbourne Corporation. </p> <p>In the interim, Patrick will be boosting its Melbourne straddle fleet by 12 units in mid-2005. </p> <p>Mr Corrigan said that he remains very optimistic about rail, with up to $500m available for acquisition. </p> <p>On next month’s AusLink announcement he said it ias widely agreed that rebuilding the Melbourne-Brisbane rail link is the most important freight transport project in the country. </p> <p>He said that he did not expect AusLink to do this, but he hopes it will at least match the $450m one-off payment in the Budget to improve segments of the Melbourne-Brisbane link and access through the Sydney commuter network. </p> <br />