Mainfreight profit rises 6.3% on record NZ trading

Mainfreight posted a 6.3% gain in full-year profit on a record result in New Zealand and growth in Australia and said the strong performance meant it would pay record bonuses to its managers.

Profit rose to an all-time high of $107.9 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from $101.5 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $2.6 billion from $2.3 billion.

Asia was the only region to produce disappointing earnings in Mainfreight’s latest year, in what it described as a satisfactory performance and “a strong indication of our continuing success in growing a global logistics business”. The company declared a final dividend of 26 cents a share, making 45 cents for the year, up 9.8% from a year earlier, and Mainfreight says it would also reward its team with a 7.4 percent increase in their discretionary bonuses to $20.7 million, the highest ever such payout.

In the company’s biggest market, New Zealand, sales rose 9.3% to $666 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 8.4% to a record $98.6 million. Mainfreight’s NZ logistics arm added warehouse capacity and its air & ocean business recorded increased air and sea freight tonnage “across both imports and exports, including perishable airfreight exports”.

It says the local transport division faced the most pressure, with congestion at its sites in Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin.

In Australia sales rose 16.6% to $624 million and earnings gained 18% to $49.9 million. Mainfreight said it was the best-ever result in Australia with all three businesses recording stronger sales growth.

Mainfreight shares last traded at $25.75 and have edged up 1.4% this year.