Tranz Rail shares fall after gloomy forecast

<p>Lower than expected third quarter earnings have sent shares in rail operator Tranz Rail tumbling on the New Zealand stock exchange this morning (Monday, April 7)</p> <p>Tranz Rail’s preliminary announcement stated that revenue for the third quarter was NZ$157.2m, some NZ$11.2m below the forecast.</p> <p>This has impacted the EBIT (earnings before interest and tax), which at NZ$19.1m is NZ$10.2m down on the original forecast of NZ$29.3m.</p> <p>The operator has blamed "climactic conditions and an associated downturn in the rural and commodity sectors" for the downturn.</p> <p>A combination of drought-affected milk and fertiliser production, the Kinleith strike and lower coal volumes because of congestion at Lyttleton port had hit revenue at the operator’s rail services group.</p> <p>The Interisland Line was affected by Air New Zealand’s lower express class fare structure and increased competition for passenger and car traffic.</p> <p>Rail services were affected by reduced passnger volumes and reduced subsidies as a result of the heat buckling issues.</p> <p>But the company has received little sympathy from the market, with shares dropping to a record low of 75 cents earlier this morning. </p> <br />