Austin flags US-China trade uncertainty amid growth

Austin Engineering has delivered a strong 2019 financial year, with the company recording its strongest operating cash flow performance since 2013.

Brisbane-based Austin reported a 33 per cent increase in net profit after tax (NPAT) relative to the 2018 financial year with $8 million.

Austin managing director Peter Forsyth said the increased earnings were backed by a lift in margins after a restructuring program.

The company also sold underperforming operations and exited unprofitable sites.

“The business is now focused on its more profitable operations including those with the potential to grow through further gains in productivity and improved efficiencies,” Forsyth said.

Although the company projects strong demand for iron ore, copper, and coal over the short to medium term, it expressed caution due to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, along with slowing global growth.

“As a result, the outlook for Austin’s business in the 2020 financial year is currently mixed throughout the group. Some of our sites have strong order books whilst others have not secured sufficient purchase orders to demonstrate the growth that I know this business can deliver,” Forsyth said.

“Based on the visibility we have at this time, I am confident that we will achieve an underlying EBITDA result from continuing operations of $24–$28 million.

“The strength of Austin’s balance sheet provides us with considerable scope for future capital management initiatives including accretive growth opportunities, internal investment in capital expenditure and the consideration of a return to sustainable dividend payments.”

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