Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Australian Rail and Infrastructure Group Posts Encouraging Figures

UGL Orders Booked Past 2011
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – United Group Limited, which became UGL in November, yesterday posted encouraging figures for their half year (to 31st December 2009) showing revenues of A$2.1 billion with orders on the books for another A$8.8 billion. The group, which includes UGL Rail plus water and power management interests employs over 40,000 people, globally declared earnings before interest and taxes of over A$90 million. The rail business has a record order book of A$3.2 billion going past 2011.

Although the group’s diversity tends to cloud the interests of freight and transport observers UGL Rail accounted for A$13.7 million of the earnings on revenue of A$536 million and, with the introduction of the heavy haulage and high speed freight diesel electric locomotive, the C44ACi, the company looks well placed to continue to succeed in a difficult market. It was the weakness of the rail and resources sectors however that resulted in the reduced group profits, down around 15% against the same period last year.

UGL profit from the outsourcing tendencies of the larger blue chip corporations in its own sphere of operations, principally Australia and New Zealand in the case of rail freight and passenger interests and, with the economy now fairly steady, expects growth at home as infrastructure development to boost rail and port services start to pick up. The group is already tendering for A$1 billion of new works.

The figures for the second half will prove interesting as those issued yesterday are weighted to include the arbitration agreement with RailCorp which produced much reduced profits for UGL after the companies settled disputes over the manufacture and distribution of the Outer Surburban railcars (OScars)to Sydney and the Hunter region.