Annual records tumble in GPC’s ‘best’ financial performance
EXPORT, dividend and financial records tumbled in what Gladstone Ports Corporation has described as its "best financial performance ever", its annual report revealed.
Queensland Government coffers benefited from the record $73.8 million in dividends from the Gladstone Ports Corporation, an increase of 19.2 per cent and up from the $66.1 million forecast for last year.
The annual report, release last week, showed the Gladstone, Bundaberg and Rockhampton ports had record exports of 124.8 million tonnes, buoyed by Gladstone's highest ever coal and LNG shipments.
Cementing itself as Queensland's largest multi-commodity port, the Port of Gladstone accounted for 72.3mt of annual exports.
Newly-appointed chairman Peter Corones said the results were "great news" for Queensland, in terms of jobs, economic growth and international trade.
"We are very pleased Queenslanders will benefit from yet another strong dividend, which helps pay for much-needed infrastructure and frontline services across the state," he said.
Acting chief executive Craig Walker said the company's financial performance was the "best on record", achieving earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $221.8 million, an increase of 6.5 per cent on the previous year.
"It was a year in which we delivered on our commitment to develop and expand new trade sectors and advanced our plans to build the capacity, competitiveness and sustainability of our ports," he said.
In Gladstone there was an increase of five million tonnes to coal exports, which Mr Walker said was due to improved efficiencies and growing demand.
There were also record shipments of liquefied natural gas exports from the three Curtis Island plants, of 21.5 million tonnes.
The port benefited from higher thermal and metallurgical coal prices, however these prices are not expected to be sustainable.
This month's Resources and Energy Quarterly said average prices of metallurgical coal in 2018-19 were US$205 per tonne, but were expected to drop to US$168 per tonne this financial year and US$163 per tonne in 2020-21.
The report found Australia's metallurgical coal export earnings reached a new record of $44 billion in 2018-19, however that figure is expected to decline to $35 billion by 2020-21.
GPC also had changes to its management during the past 12 months, with the appointment of Mr Corones as chairman in October, 2018.
Chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan officially left the business in May 2019 with Mr Walker acting in the role since December 2018.
Mr Corones said the business was focused on identifying new trade opportunities, and pointed to the Queensland Government's $19m investment in the hydrogen export market as one potential opportunity.
"Gladstone is well placed to take advantage of significant growth in demand for hydrogen, driven by investments made by Japan and South Korea in new technologies including hydrogen-fuelled vehicles," he said.
Capital investment increased to $70m last year, an increase of 19.2 per cent.
Some of the major projects identified were East Shores Stage 1B - which includes the addition of a cruise passenger terminal, waterfront cafe, amphitheatre and parklands - Clinton Vessel Interaction Project and the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channel Duplication.