QUBE managing director Maurice James has talked of a “sound financial performance” in the 2019-20 financial year, belying the twin miseries of pandemic and bushfires.

“Of course, the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and other factors negatively affected Qube’s full-year earnings, however the company achieved a net profit after tax and amortisation of more than $121m,” Mr James said.

“Other highlights for the financial year included underlying revenue growth of more than 9% to $1.9bn. Underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation were $160.3m for the period.”

Most of Qube’s operations were defined as “essential services” and therefore were able to continue to operate during lockdowns.

Diversification was said to have been “particularly important” during the second half of the period during which Qube’s bulk operations continued largely unaffected by COVID-19.

In September 2019, Qube completed the acquisition of the Chalmers business which was described as “highly synergistic” with Qube’s transport and container park operations in Brisbane and Melbourne.

At Moorebank Logistics Park, “significant progress” was reported including the first shuttle trains beginning operations between Moorebank and Port Botany.

A major highlight was said to have been the announcement in June that Qube had attracted Woolworths to the precinct.

On the waterfront, Patrick continued to generate “strong cashflow”.

Mr James said the impact of COVID-19 and geopolitical developments continued to be closely monitored.

“However, Qube has been trading ahead of internal expectations in Q1 FY 21 reflecting generally solid volumes across the business including containers, vehicles, and bulk commodities,” he said.

He predicted the first half of the 2021 financial to be comparable to 2020, reflecting higher contributions from the operating division and Patrick.

“We remain confident that Qube’s scale, diversification and track record of innovation and accretive investments provides a solid foundation for sustainable, long term growth,” Mr James said.

“In conclusion, I would like to thank directors, management and all employees for their efforts during what has been a very testing period in the last year.”

The full report to the ASX can be viewed here.