Ausdrill silently confident

Ausdrill recorded a net profit after tax of $A25.055 million for the half year to December 31, 2008, up 52% on the same period last year. The result includes pre-tax unrealised foreign exchange gains of $6.351 million and costs associated with the defence of the hostile Macmahon takeover bid of $2.04 million. Revenue was up 46% from $187.2 million to $273 million, while earnings before interest, tax depreciation, and amortisation jumped 59% from $41.5 million to $66.1 million. The company blames an increase in net debt, to $168 million, partly on the depreciation of the Australian dollar. The company said the result was achieved in spite of the global economic crisis, but said it is unrealistic to expect Ausdrill will not be affected in the future, noting it had already seen a marked slowdown in activities. “Whilst tendering activity remains high, the company is seeing increased pressure from clients to reduce operating costs and is experiencing increased competitor pressure in some sectors,” Ausdrill said. “To date, we have had one contract suspended and one mine closure directly affecting our operations, that being Norilsk Nickels Black Swan operation that closed on February 17, 2009, resulting in four blasthole drills being stood down. “At the early stage of the crisis we did see reduced production on some sites in Africa, most of which have since returned to full production.” Looking ahead, the company said its exposure to gold operations augers well, as a result of increased gold prices, and Africa remains a key growth area with a number of gold projects due to be tendered in the near future. The company said it expects to continue to operate profitably in the period ahead. However, Ausdrill’s board would not provide any firm guidance on the level of expected profitability.

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