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Freightways Delivers Record Earnings

Strong growth across all operating divisions enabled New Zealand courier and express freight leader, Freightways Express Limited (Freightways), to deliver record revenue and earning figures for the year ending 30 June 2001.

Retiring company chairman, Ken Barry, reports that consolidated revenue for the financial year (30 June), reached $176 million, up 8% on the previous 12 months. During the same period earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) were $24.1 million - up 18% on last year.

According to Mr Barry the financial performance for the year “exceeded the board’s expectations”. He says one of the highlights of a busy year was the new issue of 30 million preference shares completed in May 2001.

Profit after tax attributable to members of $9.9 million was 37% ahead of the previous year. This result well exceeded the preference share dividend charge of $2.6 million. With the additional preference shares now on offer the dividend charge will increase in the next financial year. The board is confident that the expected level of future earnings will satisfy the higher dividend requirement. During the year Freightways paid dividends of 7.48 cents per share (fully imputed) and according to his report a further dividend at the current rate will be payable on 31 October 2001.

Managing Director, Dean Bracewell, says Freightways’ improved performance was “underwritten by growth across all its operating businesses, each of which performed well in very competitive markets.” The courier/express freight and business mail division delivered revenues of $160 million with EBITA of $25.3 million, a 14% increase on last year with brand leaders New Zealand Couriers, Post Haste Couriers, Castle Parcels, SUB60 and Security Express producing record returns. The information management division delivered revenue of $16m and EBITA of $1.5m an increase of 71% on the last year.

“This result was achieved by disciplined cost control, ongoing innovation to ensure added value to existing services and the successful implementation of growth strategies,” he says. “Investment has occurred throughout the year to support our businesses’ operational excellence, a key competitive differentiation strategy.”

He says the successful year was underpinned by sound revenue growth, and describes the outlook for Freightways as positive. Cash generation was strong with consolidated cash flow from operations before interest and tax exceeding $30 million. A continuation of sound earnings and dividends for shareholders is expected.

Freightways, a publicly listed company, is controlled by listed Australian business services company AUSDOC Group Limited. Mr Barry announced his retirement from the board of Freightways and its parent, AUSDOC Group Limited. The board has appointed Mr Michael Butler as Chairman.

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