20 Nov 2009

Mainfreight optimistic despite profit fall

7:35 am on 20 November 2009

Mainfreight's half year profit has fallen by almost a third but the company says trading conditions are showing signs of recovering from the recession.

The transport company reported a net profit before one-off costs of $12.2 million for the six months to September, compared with $17.2 million a year earlier.

Revenue fell just over 14% percent to $536 million.

There were one-off costs from restructuring of $1.3 million compared with the previous year's one-off gain of $61.5 million from an asset sale.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid says trading was hit hard in the global downturn, but there are signs of improvement in both New Zealand and Australia compared to last year.

Mr Braid says the market is likely to remain fragile into 2010, and the focus will be on improving margins and sales growth.

Mr Braid says staff bonuses could be reinstated later in the financial year if economic conditions improve.

The company paid no bonuses last year due - the first time in 30 years it has not done so - and will pay none in the first half of this financial year.

The company has declared an unchanged dividend of 8.5c per share.