13 Nov 2013

Mainfreight committed to US, Europe

8:06 am on 13 November 2013

Mainfreight Group remains committed to its United States and European operations, despite the region remaining a concern.

The listed logistics and transport company's net profit rose to nearly $41.8 million in the six months to September, 51% higher than the same period last year.

Excluding abnormal items, such as the $13 million dispute settlement with the previous owners of its European business Wim Bosman Group, Mainfreight's underlying net profit rose 7.7% to nearly $29.8 million. Operating profit improved 3.7% to $63.3 million.

Mainfreight Group managing director Don Braid said he wasn't happy with its performance in the United States or Europe but Asia was performing pretty well.

"I think it's still pretty tough in Europe. There's no doubt about that. It's a very competitive market in our space and we've only just bought the business ... so therefore we've got a lot more work to do," he said.

In America, the Mainfreight business was disappointing but the CaroTrans business it had had for 10-12 years was performing well.

Mainfreight USA's problem was a lack of market share, rather than a drop in freight volumes being carried, Mr Braid said.

"Whilst there has been a lift in the market in America with our competitors, we haven't seen that lift and we've got to get a few things right ourselves to take advantage of what we think is an improving domestic market," he said.

The company had restructured the business to focus on sales to achieve that.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 13 cents per share, 1 cent higher than last year.