A jump in toll revenue has helped Australia’s biggest toll-roads operator, Transurban, return to profit.
Transurban, which operates the M2, M5 and M7 motorways and Lane Cove and Cross City tunnels in Sydney; Melbourne's CityLink; plus Brisbane's Airportlink M7, posted a profit of $99 million for the 12 months to June 30, 2016.
The result compares to a loss of $182 million the previous year, thanks in large part to an eight per cent rise in the number of motorists using its roads each day and toll increases.
Toll revenue for the group jumped 17.5 per cent for the year.
17.5 per cent
Chief executive Scott Charlton on Tuesday said Transurban was working hard to improve customer service and to add value to its extensive operations, which include the
Average daily traffic (ADT) jumped 26.5 per cent on Transurban's recently expanded Brisbane operations, 13.5 per cent on its two roads in Viriginia and 7.4 per cent on its Sydney operations, which alone account for about 41.1 per cent of its annual toll revenue.
Mr Charlton said CityLink's one per cent ADT lift was due to "significant construction disruption".
"We're seeing strong economies in Sydney, Melbourne and Washington DC. It's a bit softer in Brisbane but we still see and expect growth in Brisbane as well," he said.
Proportional pre-tax earnings before significant items - which measures earnings relative to Transurban's shareholdings in its toll road assets - were up 14.8 per cent on a year ago, at $1.48 billion.
Transurban also said it expects its 2017 distribution to be 11 per cent higher than the 2016 payout of 45.5 cents per security, thanks to buoyant economies in Sydney, Melbourne and Virginia.
Transurban also is looking to new technology to improve its operations, and plans to launch a free app in Melbourne enabling customers to manage their accounts. The app will later be rolled out in other Australian cities.
TRANSURBAN BACK IN THE BLACK
- Annual net profit of $99m, from a loss of $182m
- Revenue rose 18.8pct to $2.21b, from $1.86b
- Final distribution up to 23.0 cents a security, up from 20.5 cents