QUBE, Australia’s largest provider of integrated import and export logistics services, has reported a solid first half performance with underlying revenue growth of 8.7% to $1.63 billion flowing through to underlying earnings (EBITA) growth of 8% to $156.8 million. 

Underlying NPATA increased by 6.5% to $141.2 million and underlying earnings per share pre-amortisation (including Qube’s share of Patrick’s amortisation) (EPSA) increased by 6.5% to eight cents per share. 

The result reflected a higher earnings contribution from all parts of the group, with both business units in the operating division and all of Qube’s associates delivering higher profits in the half, compared to the prior corresponding period.

Patrick, which is 50% owned by Qube, was the largest driver of Qube’s earnings growth in the period, reflecting a very high market share in the period that more than offset a decline in overall market volumes.

Qube managing director Paul Digney said the results for the period demonstrated the value of Qube’s diversification in insulating against macroeconomic challenges and headwinds in some markets. 

“This is another pleasing result for Qube, which shows both the strength of the business and our success in leveraging Qube’s extensive asset base and scale to improve productivity and efficiency across our operations,” Mr Digney said.

“While the high interest rate environment and wider macroeconomic challenges did create challenges through the half, the combination of our strong financial position, together with our diversification by markets and geography supported continued organic growth as well as further accretive investment, including several complementary acquisitions. 

“Regrettably, the death of a colleague at Qube’s South Australian forestry operations during the period, as well as that of an employee of a third-party contractor in Victoria, weigh on our overall performance. 

“While investigations into both incidents continue, we again send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of both men involved.”

Qube’s Logistics & Infrastructure business unit delivered a modest increase in underlying earnings in H1 FY24 despite a decline in revenue. 

Underlying EBITA grew 2.9% to $121.9 million while underlying revenue declined from $692 million in H1 FY23 to $667.7 million in H1 FY24. 

The result reflected continued high volumes across most of Qube’s containerised activities including transport, empty container parks and warehouse activities as well as high volumes of vehicles, roll on-roll off, general and project cargo at Qube’s automotive terminals.

The testing and commissioning of the IMEX Terminal continued and automated operations are expected to be largely complete by the end of February. 

Qube expects to start running five metro shuttles per weekday from late-February with regional services commencing in late March/April. 

The construction of the MLP Interstate Terminal (Stage 1a) continued during the period and is on track to be completed in H2 FY24.

Qube’s ports and bulk business unit reported strong underlying revenue and earnings growth in H1 FY24, with revenue increasing 19% to $960 million, and EBITA increasing 21.1% to $78 million.

Patrick delivered a 21.1% increase in underlying NPATA to Qube of $44.8 million (H1 FY23 – $37.0 million).

The NPATA comprises Qube’s share of Patrick’s profit after tax as well as interest income on shareholder loans.  Underlying revenue generated by Patrick (100%) increased by 15.6% to $462.2 million and underlying EBITDA (100%) improved by 21.1% to $200.2 million in H1 FY24 from $165.3 million