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Freightways Continues Strong Growth Path For 3Q

7 May 2002

Freightways Continues Strong Growth Path For Third Quarter

Freightways Express Limited (Freightways) has continued its strong performance posting consolidated operating revenue for the nine months ended 31 March 2002, of $137.8 million - up 4% on the same period last year.

Company Chairman, Michael Butler, reports that earnings before Interest, Tax and Amortisation (EBITA) were $19.9 million compared to $17.4 million for the corresponding period last year, up 15%.

He says this reflects a strong performance across the entire group, delivering a $9.7 million consolidated profit after tax attributable to members, comfortably covering the preference share dividend obligations for the period of $3 million.

In accordance with an announcement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange made on 5 April 2002, Freightways paid a six-monthly preference share dividend of approximately 3.1 cents per share (fully imputed) on 30 April 2002.

The potential sale of Freightways by its parent company, AUSDOC Group Limited, has attracted a number of interested parties who participated in due diligence during February and March and submitted bids to AUSDOC for consideration. The outcome of the sale process will be communicated to shareholders when it becomes available.

Managing Director, Dean Bracewell, says the Q3 result continues Freightways’ outstanding performance as it approaches the end of the financial year. “I am confident that the success of robust company market strategies, the ongoing support and commitment of employees and contractors and our market position will enable ongoing strong financial performance,” he says.

“Freightways’ seasonal Christmas peak reported in its half year result was followed in this quarter by a further surge in volumes across its major businesses, including rising courier/express freight volumes from existing customers, ongoing efficiency improvements and cost containment, and an increase in market share.

“The positive New Zealand economy has underpinned the increased activity experienced by Freightways, as has the disciplined implementation of our growth strategies.”

The Courier/Express Freight and Business Mail operations experienced a 5% increase in revenue earnings to $126.2 million with EBITA figures rising 16% to $21.1 million over the prior year to March 2001.

Mr Bracewell expects Freightways to conclude the 2002 financial year on an “extremely positive note”. “We will continue to explore acquisition opportunities and act on these where appropriate,” he says. “We expect that the buoyant economic climate will enable increasing business opportunities to continue being developed with minimal impact on our cost structures.”

A continuation of sound earnings and dividends for Freightways’ shareholders is expected.


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