“UNPRECEDENTED” external challenges impacted upon Qube Holdings results for the 2019-20 financial year, the company has stated.

Underlying revenue in the financial year was about $1.9bn (up 9%), underlying earnings was $160.3m (11.2% down) and underlying net profit after tax before amortisation was $121.2m (12.9%).

Underlying earnings per share pre-amortisation (EPSA) was 7.2 cents, a fall of around 15.3% compared with the corresponding period.

Qube managing director Maurice James struck a positive tone and said they were “pleased to have delivered a sound financial performance in FY20 in light of the very considerable, unexpected and unprecedented challenges that affected the broader economy and Qube’s activities”.

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“The events of 2020 tested the strength and resilience of the company in ways which no-one could have predicted. This result once again demonstrates the success of our diversification strategy which protected the company as markets were hit by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” he said.

“We were also able to adapt rapidly as an organisation to protect the health and safety of our people, deliver on customer requirements and minimise the economic damage to the Group.

“We are also well positioned for growth post pandemic with conservative gearing, and a strong balance sheet with substantial funding capacity.”

Fortunately for Qube, most of its operations were defined as “essential services” meaning it could continue to operate during the pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 on Qube’s activities varied significantly with minimal impact on Qube’s bulk export operations, a modest impact on its New Zealand forestry stevedoring and marshalling operations (mainly due to the closure of forestry activities for three weeks) and a more significant impact on container, import break bulk cargo, and automotive volumes,” the company said in a statement.

Despite a decline in earnings, the waterfront subsidiary company Patrick continued to generate “strong cashflow”, although it only distributed $20m to Qube using the majority of its operating cashflow to fund its capital expenditure program which included the purchase of new cranes as well as rail capacity growth at Port Botany.

The full results can be viewed here.

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