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Fliway CEO Hawkseby optimistic of bouncing back

Fliway CEO Hawkseby optimistic of bouncing back after 'tough' 2017, shares gain

By Paul McBeth

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - Fliway Group chief executive Duncan Hawkesby expects the transport and logistics firm will bounce back from a "tough" 2017 with all three business lines operating better than a year earlier.

Speaking to shareholders at today's annual meeting in Auckland, Hawkesby said 2017 was "a tough year financially" although a number of those costs were one-offs and the results are starting to improve. Fliway posted a 31 percent decline in annual profit to $3.9 million in 2017, even as revenue edged up 3.4 percent to $85.4 million.

"We are looking to build on the revenue wins of FY17 and continue to grow Fliway into a bigger business than it is today," Hawkesby said in speech notes published on the NZX. "All three business units are currently showing solid growth in revenue over the prior year on the back of great customer service and good success in bringing on board new customers."

Still, Hawkesby warned the company can't rest on its laurels and the reopening of the Picton-to-Christchurch coast road will see the removal of a natural disaster surcharge in the first quarter of 2018 which will hit revenue.

Last year Fliway signalled it was in for a tough ride when it lost a major customer, saying that would probably hit underlying earnings by 10 percent. That was made worse by the November earthquake in Kaikoura, which cut off the arterial freight route in the South Island, pushing up transport costs.

Chair Craig Stobo told shareholders progress had been made on the business's strategy and operations and the board was able to keep the dividend payment at the top of the policy to pay 50-to-70 percent of net profit.

The shares rose 3.9 percent to $1.08 with 5,000 shares changing hands. Fliway's 90-day average volume is 23,000 shares.



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