Toll road operator Transurban has doubled its annual net profit to $485 million, driven by an increase in toll prices and higher vehicle numbers.
An increase in average daily traffic of 2.2 per cent helped boost toll revenue for the multinational roads group to $2.34 billion – an above-average 8.7 per cent increase.
Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton said the widening of Melbourne’s Citylink Tulla freeway – which increased high-toll-paying heavy freight vehicle traffic by almost nine per cent – was a signficant contributor.
“The escalation would be somewhere near three per cent, but because we’ve opened up some big enhancements on Citylink and also in relation to the M7 truck multiplier, there has been an increase,” Mr Charlton told reporters, referring to the higher toll ratio used for trucks on Sydney’s M7 motorway.
Transurban recorded 2017/18 toll revenue growth of 13.4 per cent in Melbourne, while in Sydney large vehicle traffic also lifted toll revenue by 8.3 per cent.
Brisbane toll revenue lifted 2.1 per cent.
Transurban added to its one asset in North America this year when it finalised acquisition of a 7.2km toll road and bridge north of Montreal, Canada, for $861 million in June.
North American revenue lifted 7.1 per cent.
In July the toll road giant led a consortium bidding for 51 per cent of the WestConnex motorway in Sydney being sold by the NSW Government.
But Transurban is still waiting on regulatory clearance from the competition watchdog which said company’s dominance – it already runs seven of the state’s nine toll roads – could stymie competition in the sector.
The company says its forecast distribution guidance of 59 cents per share for 2018/19 won’t be impacted if the bid for the Sydney motorway is succesful.
Transurban declared a total final distribution and dividend of 28 cents.
Shares in the company were up 6 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $11.96 at 1409 AEST.
TRANSURBAN FY PROFIT DOUBLES
* Net profit attributable to security holders up 102.5pct to $485 million
* Revenue from ordinary activities increased 20.7 per cent to $3,298 million
* Toll revenue increased 8.7 per cent to $2,340 million
* Final dividend 2.5 cents and final distribution 25.5 cents