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Tranz Rail Announces Annual Result

Summary Commentary

Tranz Rail Holdings Limited today reported a net profit for the year ended 30 June 2001 of NZ$5.6 million or 4 cents per ordinary share (diluted). The result, which was impacted by a major restructuring programme, was down on the prior year¡¦s net profit of NZ$46.9 million or 38 cents per ordinary share (diluted).

During the year the company announced a radical Strategic Plan which involved selling certain non-core businesses and assets and rationalising the focus of the remaining core freight operations.

Chief Financial Officer, Mark Bloomer said the company made good progress during the year on its Strategic Plan, although it was too early to see the financial benefit of this in the results. The reported profit performance was expected and reflects significant costs of the change process.

Total freight revenue was NZ$463.5 million, up 4% on the prior year. The volume of freight tonnage was slightly down on the record levels set in the prior year; however, this was offset by an increase in average rates as the company continued to recover higher fuel costs. Freight revenue was also boosted by increased revenue from commercial vehicles on the interisland ferries and the expansion of the Metroport service with the Port of Tauranga.

Passenger revenue of NZ$143.9 million was up 13% when compared with last year. The increase was due to higher passenger numbers, as well as an increase in passenger fares processed in response to increased fuel costs.

¡§Regrettably, the benefits of these higher revenues have been eroded by higher costs,¡¨ Mr Bloomer said.

He said operating costs, excluding direct costs of reorganisation (NZ$21.3 million), were up by 11% to NZ$583.2 million. Direct costs of reorganisation include redundancy costs associated with management changes, relocation of functions from Wellington to Auckland, and business reengineering. It also includes costs of reconfiguring the ferry fleet in December 2000. However, costs were also adversely impacted by indirect costs arising from the change process, and therefore, the real cost of reorganisation had been much greater than specifically indicated. Indirect costs of change were reflected mainly in increased labour, consultancy, training, travel and communication costs.

Higher fuel costs contributed to a NZ$18.6 million (37%) increase in fuel and traction electricity costs. In response to these increases, the company increased freight rates and passenger fares.

Although total staff numbers increased slightly, this will reduce in coming months as the company¡¦s sale and divestment plans and other business rationalisation initiatives proceed.

The company continued its programme of containing capital expenditure to levels below NZ$50 million for the second year in succession.

Operating profit for the twelve months was NZ$23.9 million. Excluding the impact of the direct costs of re-organisation, operating profit was NZ$45.2 million compared to NZ$70.8 million in the 2000 financial year. If indirect costs of change were to be excluded, the normalised operating profit would have been greater.

The change programme underway will continue into the 2002 financial year and savings and efficiency gains will flow through to the bottom line progressively as the various initiatives are completed, Mr Bloomer said.

With regard to the disposal of non-core businesses, the company has signed a Term Sheet with West Coast Railway to purchase the Tranz Scenic long distance passenger business, and discussions are in progress with the Government on the sale of the Auckland Rail Corridor.

During the year the management team and organisation was restructured around the company¡¦s strategic programme and individual lines of business, namely: the Rail Services Group (linehaul freight), Distribution (door to door retail), and the Interisland Line (ferry services). The restructuring also involved the relocation of commercial and head office functions from Wellington to Auckland.

In the Rail Services Group, operations have been simplified to improve efficiency, customer service and safety. This was done in a number of ways including introduction of fixed capacity scheduled interisland rail freight services.

Mr Bloomer said the fixed capacity trains load containers on a ¡¥lift on, lift off¡¦ basis minimising the need for wagon shunting. The controlled move away from complex siding, shunting and train marshalling is consistent with the transition to a safer freight operation.

The new train services have improved reliability, performing well compared to other transport modes such as trucks, and have been supported by customers.

In other strategic initiatives, the company moved to the short list stage with potential suppliers to provide engineering services on an outsourced basis; reconfigured the inter-island ferry fleet and introduced a new fast ferry in December 2000; and progressed installation of a new computer system for the operational and financial systems in the Distribution business.

Detailed Commentary
Results for the Twelve Months Ended 30 June 2001

Net profit for the twelve months ended 30 June 2001 was NZ$5.6 million or 4 cents per ordinary share (diluted) compared to NZ$46.9 million or 38 cents per ordinary share (diluted) for the twelve months ended 30 June 2000.

Total revenue for the twelve months was NZ$628.4 million, an increase of NZ$33.9 million (6%) compared to the prior year.

Freight revenue was NZ$463.5 million, an increase of NZ$17.5 million (4%) compared to the 2000 financial year. Freight tonnage decreased by 2% and revenue tonne kilometres decreased by 3%, but was offset by an improvement in average rates, an increase in revenue from commercial vehicles and additional revenue from expansion of the Metroport service.

Freight revenue for the twelve months by key product sector was:

Twelve Months to 30 June 2001
2001
(NZ$M) 2000
(NZ$M) Change
(NZ$M) Change
(%)
Agricultural and food products 165.1 157.7 7.4 4.7
Forestry products 73.0 78.8 (5.8) (7.4)
Manufactured products 71.5 76.3 (4.8) (6.3)
Coal 32.6 32.3 0.3 0.9
Fertiliser, minerals & aggregates 17.1 15.6 1.5 9.6
Other freight 104.2 85.3 18.9 22.2
TOTAL 463.5 446.0 17.5 3.9

Agricultural and food products revenue increased primarily as a result of increased export volumes of dairy and meat products, resulting from higher production levels and the weaker NZ dollar, together with an improvement in yield.

Forestry products revenue decreased due to a slowing in production in response to lower export product demand, together with the closure of a major customer¡¦s processing facility and rationalisation of low margin log traffic. This has been partly offset by an improvement in average rates.

Manufactured products include a wide range of customers operating mainly in the domestic market. Lower revenue is due to lower volumes, resulting from a weaker domestic economy. There were also lower volumes of export steel. These adverse volume variances were offset partly by an improvement in average rates.

Coal revenue increased mainly as a result of volume increases in export coal.

Fertiliser, minerals and aggregates increased mainly due to higher fertiliser volumes through favourable climatic conditions. In addition, there has been an improvement in average rates.

Other freight increased due primarily to an increase in commercial vehicle movements on the interisland ferries, impacted favourably by the withdrawal of a major competitor during the period, as well as a contribution from the Port of Tauranga as a result of the expansion of the Metroport service from a weekend to a seven day a week operation.

Passenger revenue was NZ$143.9 million, an increase of NZ$16.8 million (13%) compared to the 2000 financial year. This increase resulted primarily from increased passenger numbers from both interisland and rail passenger services, as well as an increase in passenger fares which took effect during the second quarter.

Miscellaneous revenue was NZ$21.0 million, a decrease of NZ$0.4 million compared to the 2000 financial year.

Operating costs for the twelve months were NZ$604.5 million. Operating costs before direct costs of reorganisation were NZ$583.2 million, an increase of NZ$59.5 million (11%) compared to the 2000 financial year. However, operating costs include significant indirect costs of change in addition to the specific amount provided for.

Operating costs for the twelve months by major category were:

Twelve Months to 30 June 2001
2001
(NZ$M) 2000
(NZ$M) Change
(NZ$M) Change
(%)
Labour and related costs 206.5 193.4 (13.1) (6.8)
Fuel and traction electricity 68.7 50.1 (18.6) (37.1)
Contractor costs 62.4 64.3 1.9 3.0
Lease and rental costs 58.6 48.0 (10.6) (22.1)
Depreciation 50.9 47.7 (3.2) (6.7)
Purchased services 44.2 45.8 1.6 3.5
Materials and supplies 31.1 25.1 (6.0) (23.9)
Casualties and insurance 15.5 10.9 (4.6) (42.2)
Other expenses 45.3 38.4 (6.9) (18.0)
Operating costs before reorganisation costs 583.2 523.7 (59.5) (11.4)
Reorganisation costs 21.3 - (21.3) -
TOTAL 604.5 523.7 (80.8) (15.4)

Labour and related costs increased in the twelve-month period due to the following factors:
„X The impact of wage inflation resulting from the settlement of the collective agreement which provided staff under this agreement with a 2% increase as well as general salary inflation for those staff on individual employment contracts.
„X Average operating full time equivalent staff numbers for the twelve-month period increased by 33. The increase in operating staff has been due to the following factors:
- The impact of the general change process being undertaken by the Company including temporary inefficiencies caused by operational change, and the relocation of marketing and head office functions to Auckland has resulted in a temporary increase in staff numbers during this transition phase.
- Staff levels increased following the introduction of a year round Lynx service during the period, partially offset by a reduction in staff following the decommissioning of the Arahanga.
„X There was also greater use of contract labour, generally as a substitute for owner-drivers, resulting in savings to contractor costs for the period.

Fuel and traction electricity costs have been impacted significantly by increased cost for fuel. The average cost per litre of rail diesel and light fuel increased by 50% and 33%, respectively, compared to the prior year.

Contractor costs reduced during the twelve months, as the Company made greater use of contract personnel in substitution for owner-drivers.

Lease and rental costs include the lease costs for the new year round fast ferry service.

Depreciation has increased compared to last year as a result of an increase in the Company¡¦s depreciable fixed asset base.

Purchased services costs are less than last year. Both 2000 and 2001 were adversely impacted by a number of one-time consultancy costs.

Materials and supplies costs increased over the prior year. One-time costs associated with projects to prepare Tranz Rail sites for the outsourcing of maintenance operations have been recognised in the current year. Also, the weaker exchange rate has increased the cost of imported materials.

Casualties and insurance costs last year were favourably impacted by the reversal of provisions following a reassessment of claims and expense information.

Other expenses increased this year due primarily to increased travel and communications costs connected with the organisational restructuring. Increased training costs have also been incurred in connection with the change programme.

A charge for organisational change of NZ$21.3 million was recognised during the year. This includes the redundancy costs associated with management change, relocation of certain marketing and corporate functions from Wellington to Auckland and business reengineering. It also includes one-time costs associated with the Interisland fleet reconfiguration in December 2000. However, the full cost of change this year is greater than this amount due to indirect costs including some which are referred to above. Whilst the company will continue to incur costs in connection with the outsourcing and change programmes, current accounting standards preclude the recognition of a further provision at this time.

Operating profit for the twelve months was NZ$23.9 million. Excluding the impact of the direct costs of reorganisation, operating profit was NZ$45.2 million compared to NZ$70.8 million in the 2000 financial year. Again, if indirect costs of change were to be excluded, the normalised operating profit would have been greater.

Net interest expense and deferred financing costs amortisation for the twelve months was NZ$22.9 million, an increase of NZ$2.5 million compared to the 2000 financial year. The increase is due primarily to higher average interest rates.

The tax credit of NZ$4.1 million compares to NZ$4.1 million tax expense for the twelve months to 30 June 2000. The tax credit results from the utilisation of prior year tax losses which had not been previously recognised.

The Company¡¦s investment in ATN contributed NZ$0.5 million in equity earnings for the twelve months compared to NZ$0.6 million in the 2000 financial year.


Detailed Commentary
Results For the Quarter Ended 30 June 2001

The company recorded a net loss for the quarter ended 30 June 2001 of NZ$0.8 million or (1) cent per ordinary share (diluted), compared to a net profit of NZ$8.4 million (7 cents per ordinary share - diluted) from the quarter ended 30 June 2000.

Total revenue for the quarter of NZ$151.6 million increased NZ$11.3 million (8%) compared to the corresponding quarter in the 2000 financial year.

Freight revenue of NZ$113.4 million increased NZ$7.0 million (7%) compared to the corresponding quarter in the prior year. Increased volumes from agricultural products were offset by lower volumes from forestry, coal and manufactured products. Overall freight tonnage decreased 1% and revenue tonne kilometres decreased 7%. The lower volumes were offset by an increase in average rates as the Company has implemented general freight rate increases, to compensate for the increased costs of fuel. These rate increases took effect mainly during the second quarter and therefore this quarter reflects the full impact of the higher rates. Freight revenue was also favourably impacted by an increase in revenue from commercial vehicles on the interisland ferries and the expansion of the Metroport service with the Port of Tauranga.

Freight revenue for the quarter in the key product sectors was:

Quarter Ended 30 June 2001
2001
(NZ$M) 2000
(NZ$M) Change
(NZ$M) Change
(%)
Agricultural and food products 41.8 38.2 3.6 9.4
Forestry products 17.1 18.9 (1.8) (9.5)
Manufactured products 16.8 17.5 (0.7) (4.0)
Coal 7.0 7.9 (0.9) (11.4)
Fertiliser, minerals & aggregates 4.2 3.9 0.3 7.7
Other freight 26.5 20.0 6.5 32.5
TOTAL 113.4 106.4 7.0 6.6

Agricultural and food products volume and revenue increased due to increased agricultural production resulting from favourable weather conditions and the weaker NZ dollar, in particular increase in dairy products. Revenue was further boosted as a result of rate increases implemented during the second quarter.

Forestry revenue decreased as volumes were affected by lower export demand and a slowing of production at customer¡¦s plants. The closure of a major customer¡¦s processing facility during the period also adversely affected volumes, although there has been some rationalisation of low margin traffic where adequate returns were not being achieved. The reduction in revenue has been partly offset by an increase in average rates.

Manufactured products revenue decreased this quarter due to a decrease in volumes, resulting from a weaker domestic economy and lower volumes of export steel. The adverse volume variances were offset partly by an increase in average rates.

Coal revenue decreased mainly due to lower export coal volumes as a result of a temporary shutdown of mine operations during this quarter.

Fertiliser, minerals and aggregates revenue increased mainly due to higher fertiliser volumes through favourable climatic conditions, and an increase in rates.

Other freight revenue includes commercial vehicle movements on the interisland ferries, Tranz Link International revenue, operations at Metroport and other miscellaneous freight activities. Revenue increased primarily due to the increase in commercial vehicle revenue as a result of the withdrawal of a competitor from the market during November 2000 as well as the expansion of Metroport operation from a weekend to a seven-day operation.

The Company¡¦s passenger business recorded revenue of NZ$31.9 million, an increase of NZ$3.4 million (12%) compared to the corresponding quarter in the 2000 financial year. Interisland revenue increased as a result of higher passenger numbers, due to the withdrawal of a competitor from the market and the extension of the fast ferry winter timetable. In addition, rail passenger services, Tranz Scenic and Tranz Metro, have also benefited from higher passenger numbers during the quarter.

Miscellaneous revenue of NZ$6.3 million increased NZ$0.9 million compared to the corresponding quarter in the 2000 financial year. By its nature miscellaneous revenue includes a number of items which are irregular and difficult to predict.

Operating costs for the quarter totaled NZ$146.9 million, an increase of NZ$19.5 million (15%) on the corresponding quarter in the 2000 financial year. This cost increase was impacted by higher labour, lease and rental costs, fuel costs, increased costs of imported materials, as well as other indirect costs (some of which is reflected in the aforementioned cost lines) associated with the significant change process being undertaken by the Company.

Operating costs for the quarter are analysed as follows:

Quarter Ended 30 June 2001
2001
(NZ$M) 2000
(NZ$M) Change
(NZ$M) Change
(%)
Labour and related costs 50.8 45.7 (5.1) (11.2)
Fuel and traction electricity 15.8 14.2 (1.6) (11.3)
Lease and rental costs 15.7 11.3 (4.4) (38.9)
Contractor costs 15.0 15.6 0.6 3.8
Depreciation 12.9 12.4 (0.5) (4.0)
Purchased services 10.0 10.1 0.1 1.0
Materials and supplies 7.8 7.5 (0.3) (4.0)
Casualties and insurance 1.3 1.4 0.1 7.1
Other expenses 12.8 9.2 (3.6) (39.1)
Operating costs before reorganisation
costs 142.1 127.4 (14.7) (11.5)
Reorganisation costs 4.8 - (4.8) -
TOTAL 146.9 127.4 (19.5) (15.3)

Labour costs compared with the same period last year were adversely impacted by a number of factors including:

ƒÞ A 2% wage increase for all staff under the collective agreement, effective 1 July 2000, as well as general salary inflation for staff under individual contracts.
ƒÞ Average full time equivalent staff numbers for the quarter ended 30 June 2001 were 4,143, which included 247 staff employed in capital programmes compared with 4,099, including 267 capital programme staff for the quarter ended 30 June 2000, the net effect being an increase in average operating staff of 64.
ƒÞ Staff levels increased following the introduction of a year round Lynx service compared with a seasonal service in 2000, partially offset by a reduction in staff following the decommissioning of the Arahanga.
ƒÞ In addition, the relocation of marketing and head office functions to Auckland this quarter has also resulted in a temporary increase in staff numbers due to the need to operate in both locations during this transition phase. In addition, the impact of the change process that the Company is undertaking appears to be reducing staff efficiency in the short term.
ƒÞ There was also greater use of contract labour as a substitute for owner drivers, resulting in savings to contractor costs this quarter.

Fuel and traction electricity costs increased this quarter compared to last year due primarily to the higher cost of fuel. Average fuel prices for rail diesel and light fuel for the quarter were 12% and 8% higher respectively, than in the corresponding quarter in the 2000 financial year. In response to these increased fuel costs, the Company implemented a programme of rate increases during the earlier part of the financial year for freight and passenger services.

Lease and rental costs increased compared to last year¡¦s quarter, due primarily to the increased cost of the new fast ferry, which is now a year round service compared to the six month seasonal operation last year.

Contractor costs reduced this quarter, as the Company made greater use of contract personnel in substitution for owner-drivers. This benefit offsets in part the increased cost of labour and related costs.

Depreciation has increased as a result of a higher depreciable asset base this year compared to last year.

Purchased services costs were adversely impacted by certain one-time consultancy costs, but remain consistent with the comparative quarter in the 2000 financial year.

Materials and supplies costs increased, primarily due to the weaker exchange rate, which has increased the cost of imported materials. One-time costs associated with projects to prepare Tranz Rail sites for the outsourcing of maintenance operations have been recognised in the current period.

Casualties and insurance costs were comparable to the same quarter last year.

Other expenses increased this quarter due primarily to increased travel and communications costs connected with the organisational restructuring and relocation of commercial and corporate functions to Auckland.

Costs associated with organisation change of $4.8 million were recognised during the period. This included the reclassification of certain one off costs associated with the interisland fleet reconfigurations charged against operating expenses earlier in the year.

Operating profit for the quarter was NZ$4.7 million compared to NZ$12.9 million for the corresponding quarter in the 2000 financial year.

Net interest expense and deferred financing costs amortisation for the quarter was NZ$5.6 million, an increase of NZ$0.3 million (6%) from the prior year quarter. The increase was due primarily to an increase in average interest rates.

Tax expense for the quarter was nil due to allowable tax deductions in determining taxable income.

The Company¡¦s investment in Australian Transport Network Limited (ATN) contributed NZ$0.1 million to equity earnings for the quarter compared to NZ$0.3 million in the prior year.

Shares of Tranz Rail Holdings Limited are publicly traded on the New Zealand Stock Exchange under the symbol TRH and the US American Depositary Shares (ADS) of the Company are traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol TNZR (each ADS is equivalent to three (3) shares). The Company operates the only commercial railroad in New Zealand, offering an integrated network of rail, road, air and sea distribution and logistics management services that provides customers with transport solutions in the Australasian market place and passenger travel experiences in New Zealand. Freight and passenger services utilise 3,900 route kilometres (2,400 route miles) of track, approximately 280 locomotives, 5,300 wagons (freight cars), 160 carriages (passenger railcars), 160 self propelled passenger railcars, 3,500 shipping containers, and two roll-on roll-off ferries and one fast ferry between the North and South Islands. The Company holds a 27% equity interest in Australian Transport Network Limited which operates freight services in Tasmania, Australia, utilising 891 route kilometres (555 route miles) of track, approximately 50 locomotives and 700 wagons (freight cars).
(http://www.tranzrail.co.nz)


For further information, contact:

Mark Bloomer
Executive Manager and Chief Financial Officer

Tel. 09 2705046
+64 9 2705046
Fax. +64 9 2705039


TRANZ RAIL HOLDINGS LIMITED
(TRH:NZSE)
(TNZR:NASDAQ)

Twelve Months Ended
30 June 2001
(unaudited)
(NZ GAAP)
2001 2000
NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS
(in millions except per share data)
Total Revenue $628.4 $594.5
Total Operating Costs $604.5 $523.7
Operating Profit $23.9 $70.8
Net Profit $5.6 $46.9
Average Ordinary Shares outstanding
(diluted) (in thousands)
130,308
124,637
Earnings per Ordinary Share (diluted) $0.04 $0.38


Twelve Months Ended
30 June 2001
(unaudited)
(NZ GAAP)
2001 (b) 2000 (b)
UNITED STATES DOLLARS
(in millions except per ADS data)
Total Revenue $266.5 $299.3
Total Operating Costs $256.4 $263.7
Operating Profit $10.1 $35.6
Net Profit $2.4 $23.6
Average American Depository Share equivalents outstanding (diluted) (in thousands) (a)
43,436
41,545
Earnings per American Depository Share equivalent (diluted) (a)
$0.05
$0.57


(a) One American Depository Share (ADS) represents three ordinary shares.
(b) New Zealand dollar amounts have been translated into US dollars for convenience at the average daily rate of NZ$1.00 = US$0.4241 and NZ$1.00 = US$0.5034 for the twelve months ended 30 June 2001 and 30 June 2000, respectively, based on the noon buying rate for New Zealand dollars as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
TRANZ RAIL HOLDINGS LIMITED
(TRH:NZSE)
(TNZR:NASDAQ)

Quarter Ended
30 June 2001
(unaudited)
(NZ GAAP)
2001 2000
NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS
(in millions except per share data)
Total Revenue $151.6 $140.3
Total Operating Costs $146.9 $127.4
Operating Profit $4.7 $12.9
Net Profit (Loss) $(0.8) $8.4
Average Ordinary Shares outstanding (diluted) (in thousands)
133,000
125,905
Earnings per Ordinary Share (diluted) $(0.01) $0.07


Quarter Ended
30 June 2001
(unaudited)
(NZ GAAP)
2001 (b) 2000 (b)
UNITED STATES DOLLARS
(in millions except per ADS data)
Total Revenue $62.8 $67.2
Total Operating Costs $60.9 $61.0
Operating Profit $1.9 $6.2
Net Profit (Loss) $(0.3) $4.0
Average American Depository Share equivalents outstanding (diluted) (in thousands) (a)
44,333
41,968
Earnings per American Depository Share equivalent (diluted) (a)
$(0.01)
$0.10


(a) One American Depository Share (ADS) represents three ordinary shares.
(b) New Zealand dollar amounts have been translated into US dollars for convenience at the average daily rate of NZ$1.00 = US$0.4144 and NZ$1.00 = US$0.4788 for the quarter ended 30 June 2001 and 30 June 2000, respectively, based on the noon buying rate for New Zealand dollars as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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