Rail freight operator Aurizon has beaten market expectations to deliver a full-year underlying profit of $531 million and will reward shareholders with a higher dividend and $300 million share buyback.
The group, which mainly transports commodities produced by the mining industry, lifted its underlying profit by 12 per cent, citing new contracts, solid tonnages in its coal and network business and no significant impact on its volumes from COVID-19.
Underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) rose 10 per cent on the previous year to $909 million, which was comfortably ahead of Bloomberg’s market consensus of $894.1 million. At its half-year results in February, the company maintained its underlying EBIT guidance for the full financial year of between $880 million to $930 million.
“Despite the emergence of COVID-19 in the second half of financial year 2020, the company has delivered a solid operational and financial performance with no material impact as a result of the pandemic,” said chief executive Andrew Harding.