Securities in toll road giant, Transurban were uneasy yesterday after it reported a lower interim profit on higher revenues, a higher distribution and reaffirmed full-year guidance.
Transurban’s first-half profit fell 61.8% to $129 million after its costly acquisition of Sydney’s WestConnex motorway scheme meant it had to start accounting for depreciation and amortisation of assets.
The securities eased 2.5% to a low of $12.13 and ended the session off 2.4% at $12.16.
Toll revenue rose 14.7% following a 2.7 increase in average daily traffic across the company’s roads (and an acquisition in Canada), but higher expenses and a $163 million increase in depreciation and amortisation (on Sydney’s M5 extension and pushed profit attributable to security holders down from $338 million a year ago.
The company said underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation for the half rose 9.8% to $1 billion. Including $308 million of significant (one off) items from buying new toll roads, Transurban said EBITDA fell 24% to $693 million.
The company raised its interim distribution by one cent to 29 cents.
The increase in revenue was driven by a $52 million increase from existing assets – driven by traffic growth across both Australian and North American networks – as well as a $115 million contribution from the acquisition of Montreal’s A25 and its increased stake in Sydney’s M5 West and Melbourne’s CityLink Tulla Widening project).
Transurban’s total revenue including fees from constructing new roads grew 30.2% to $2.1 billion.
Fees received from its roads rose $167 million to $1.29 billion in the six months to December 31.
In Sydney, toll revenue grew 7.7% to $513 million, with average daily traffic up 2.1%.
Fees from its Melbourne roads were up 5.6% to $409 million, with traffic growing by 4.6%.
Takings in Brisbane were up 1.7% to $208 million, while revenue from North America jumped 42% to $167 million after it bought the seven-kilometre A25 toll road in Montreal.