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Strong earnings growth for mining plant hire leader

Major mining equipment hire company Emeco has delivered a near-160% jump in first half operating net profit after tax.
Strong earnings growth for mining plant hire leader Strong earnings growth for mining plant hire leader Strong earnings growth for mining plant hire leader Strong earnings growth for mining plant hire leader Strong earnings growth for mining plant hire leader

Staff reporter

Operating EBITDA jumped 53.4% to A$102.8 million, operating EBIT was up 60% to $60 million and operating NPAT soared 159.8% to $31.7 million.

The company said the strong earnings growth was driven by the contribution of newly acquired businesses, Force Equipment and Matilda Equipment.

The EBITDA margin increased from 39.2% to 45.8%, year-on-year.

Average utilisation rates increased to 64% from 57%.

Emeco reported strong customer demand from the east coast of Australia, particularly the coal sector.

"During 1H19, Emeco continued on its path of earnings growth, margin improvement, increasing utilisation and reducing leverage," Emeco managing director Ian Testrow said.

"The Emeco team focused on capitalising on strong market conditions by continuing to improve utilisation and rates, integrating the Matilda Equipment business and executing business improvement initiatives to ensure we are able to provide our customers with the highest quality and lowest cost earthmoving equipment solutions."

Leverage was further reduced to 2.1x, down from 2.6x in the 2018 financial year.

The company reduced the balance of its 9.25% notes by US$33.8 million, which should reduce interest payments by A$4.5 million per annum.

"We remain committed to strengthening our balance sheet in order to refinance our notes on more attractive terms to drive future shareholder returns," Testrow said.

Testrow said the outlook for the remainder of the 2019 financial year was positive.

"We expect strong market conditions to continue into 2H19, particularly in the eastern region, with increased bidding activity in the western region for new projects expected to come online during 2019," he said.

"In order to meet strong ongoing demand and drive continued growth, Emeco has committed to investing in a significant package of core assets.

"We currently have very high utilisation in these asset classes and already have rental agreements in place for a majority of these assets.

"This disciplined asset purchase is expected to achieve high-teens returns through its life. Delivery and preparation will occur throughout 2H19, with earnings contributions expected in FY20."

The company has paid a $20 million deposit to secure the fleet of assets, including mainly 240 tonne trucks and D10/D11 dozers.

Emeco's long-term injury frequency rate fell to zero, as at December 31, while the total recordable injury frequency rate was at 1.2.

Emeco shares (ASX: EHL) opened steady at $2.81, valuing the company at $908.2 million.