QR National announced 900 jobs will be axed.
QR National announced 900 jobs will be axed.

QR National confirms 900 job losses

AUSTRALIA'S largest rail freight operator has confirmed 900 job losses this calendar year as it posts a 22% profit increase to $440.9million.

QR National job losses will be part of a staff restructure including 750 voluntary redundancy applications at a "one-off cost" of $75 million.

The company also has announced plans to buy back up to 10% of its issued share capital (244 million shares).

QR National - which operates the Central Queensland coal network made up of about 2600km of heavy haul rail infrastructure - has grown its revenue from coal transport by 8% despite flat volumes and net tonne kilometres.

The company credited improved revenue margins from the renegotiation of contracts, resulting in $1.828million full-year revenue.

A statement released by the company also noted improved revenue of $33million was booked for delivery of Transport Services Contracts with the Queensland Government for regional and livestock services in Queensland.

New projects commenced or announced - including Wiggins Island Rail Project and a further 25million-tonnes-a-year expansion of Goonyella to Abbot Point - had also helped the bottom line, it said.

QR National chief Lance Hockridge said a slow recovery from Queensland's 2011 floods, ongoing industrial action at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's Queensland mines, lower than anticipated customer demand for coal rail transport and wet weather had adversely impacted coal volumes during the year.

Mr Hockridge said these events contributed to a 47million-tonne-reduction in coal haulage volumes compared to Offer Document forecasts but the company had still recorded a strong result.

"We have delivered a substantial improvement in underlying earnings before interest and tax in 2011-12, slightly ahead of the Offer Document forecast, and without the benefit of almost 50 million tonnes of forecast growth in Queensland coal volumes," Mr Hockridge said.



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