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Mainfreight earnings lag last year's, Australian unit struggles as parcel business weighs

Wednesday 31st July 2013

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Mainfreight, the international logistics firm, has told shareholders earnings are a little behind a year ago, and is quitting parcel freight in Australia as the business weighs on its unit across the Tasman

Managing director Don Braid told shareholders at today's annual meeting earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to the end of May were 2.5 percent behind the same time a year earlier as "conditions remain difficult."

Australian trading has been deteriorating in recent months as Mainfreight quits the parcel freight business, which was eroding margins in the unit, Braid said.

"In an effort to improve our facilities in Australia, we have committed major investment for new builds in Brisbane and Melbourne," he said. "We expect the Brisbane facility to be ready mid-2014 and Melbourne a year later."

The New Zealand unit's earnings was tracking slightly ahead of last year, while the US was in line, and more improvement is needed in the American market as the year goes on, he said.

Braid said the company is still on the hunt for acquisition opportunities offering scale and to aid Mainfreight's global aspirations, and while regularly approached with offers, pickings were slim.

European earnings are still disappointing, though Mainfreight is still progressing with talks to reach a settlement with the former owners of Wim Bosman over the loss of a major customer.

The shares fell 2.5 percent to $10.75 in trading today, and have slipped 5.8 percent this year.

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