Monday 23rd August 2021
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From the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
If last year was about resolving the many and varied challenges posed by COVID-19, this year focused on moving forward. There were still lockdowns and other issues to deal with, but overall, our teams continued to bring a problem-solving attitude to day-to-day operations that saw us manage these issues and focus on implementing our strategy.
By further advancing Pricing For Effort for our courier brands; seeking efficiency opportunities in information management; integrating innovation into our workstreams and growing our waste renewal business, we demonstrated that Freightways has a powerful ability to profitably pick-up, process and deliver for customers at the same time as it develops new services.
The current dividend policy of 75% to 80% of NPATA, adjusted for significant one-offs, is well understood and is set at a level that the Board expects to be sustainable in the medium term. This will be managed in line with our ambition to maintain a strong investment grade profile.
Last year, the Board chose not to declare a final dividend for FY20 given the uncertainty in both the New Zealand and Australian markets. This year, the Board has agreed a return to the payment of a full year dividend.
We are pleased to declare a full year dividend of 18 cents per share.
We have had a record year in terms of earnings and performances across the business mirror the huge efforts put in by our teams of people. What we have seen over the last year however is that even the best laid plans can be influenced by economic conditions and lockdowns. On that basis, we are not resting on our laurels.
We will continue to focus on improving our margins, particularly in Australia, and continue to build momentum and profitability in our New Zealand brands. The macro factors we are conscious of are: the tight labour market which is pushing labour costs higher; a heavily constrained supply chain which could hamper the flow of products coming into the country for our couriers to deliver; and any future lockdowns in Australia or NZ.
In keeping with our undertaking from last year, we will react decisively to any change in volumes while maintaining the service, safety and environmental standards that our customers, investors and other stakeholders expect. That means we will adjust our cost base to protect our margins. We will also prioritise the best strategies to deliver value to shareholders over the long term.
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