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Managing director's report

Interim Report for the Nine Months ended 31 March 2003


MANAGING DIRECTOR’S REPORT

The results of Freightways Express Limited (Freightways) for the nine months ended 31 March 2003 are presented in this report.

Consolidated operating revenue for the nine months ended 31 March 2003 was $148 million, 7% above the prior corresponding period.

Earnings Before Interest Tax and Amortisation (EBITA) for the nine months ended 31 March 2003 was $24 million, 21% above the prior corresponding period.

Consolidated profit after tax attributable to members was $12.8 million, comfortably covering the preference share dividend of $2.9 million for the period.

In accordance with an announcement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange made on 28 March 2003, Freightways paid the six monthly preference share dividend of approximately 3.4 cents per share (fully imputed) on 30 April 2003.

REVIEW OF OPERATIONS

All operating divisions within the Freightways Group have delivered strong performance during 2003. This performance has been underpinned by a combination of increased support from existing customers, winning new customers, sound cost containment and the beneficial operating leverage from servicing increased volumes with Freightways’ existing infrastructure.

Freightways continues to invest incrementally in its infrastructure to provide capacity for future growth and to ensure our core service standards continue to lead the industry. By way of example, in the current year our internal linehaul provider Parceline moved its lower-North Island operations into a new and larger airfreight facility at Palmerston North Airport. Fieldair, our aircraft fleet operator, has entered into an agreement to purchase a fifth Convair aircraft in order to service increased freight volumes. Online Security Services, our information management business, has agreed to lease new, larger purpose-built premises in Christchurch for occupancy towards the end of this calendar year.

As advised in our half-year announcement, the Stocklink logistics division was divested effective from 1 March 2003.

OUTLOOK

Although there has been some public comment about the sustainability of New Zealand’s current economic performance, the Freightways businesses continue to perform strongly. Your Directors are confident that the strategies being pursued by Freightways will continue to deliver superior performance.

A continuation of sound earnings growth and dividends to shareholders is expected.

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