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Unifreight weathers COVID-19 storm


UNIFREIGHT Africa Ltd has posted an inflation-adjusted profit before tax of $19 million despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.


In its financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2020, Unifreight chairman Peter Annesley said although the freight company had not managed to meet its targets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had remained profitable.

“Our half year results for 2020 were slightly disappointing versus our forecasted figures, but given the completely unexpected downturn created by COVID-19 shutdowns in April and May, we are pleased to report an inflation-adjusted profit before tax of $19 million which is 18% above prior year,” Annesley

He said they had fared well when compared to how other companies had fared as a result of the pandemic.

“Given the volatility of the reporting currency making the results very difficult to understand, a very good measure of performance is volume of which our tonnage was 22% down on prior as at half year. Given that some of our customers were shut down completely and many others were below 50% of normal trading volumes, I think we can be very grateful that we came out relatively unscathed and were able to remain profitable,” he said.

The Unifreight chairman said the third quarter had shown a dramatic comeback with cumulative revenue on budget being 5% ahead of prior year and net profit being 36% ahead of budget in real terms.

He added that their key performance indicators were moving in the right direction with improving yields, improving fuel consumption levels which can be attributed to a new fleet, decreasing labour costs per tonne and overall improvement in cost

Annesley said despite being confident of being on the right track and ending the year on a high, the parlous state of the economy had prepared them for a difficult year ahead.

“We are focusing on what we can control, working hard to maintain a positive attitude and keep searching for pockets of opportunity that have been created, while at the same time protecting shareholder value,” he said.

The freight company said the proposed transaction in which Birmingham Investments, Birmingham Properties and Tredcor would cease to be subsidiaries of Unifreight would not have an effect on its share capital and shareholding structure.
Unifreight did not declare a dividend for the 2020 financial year.

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