US Navy ships drives Austal to a 64pc profit jump

Headshot of Peter Milne
Peter MilneThe West Australian
Guardian class patrol boat for PNG at Austal HQ in Henderson in November.
Camera IconGuardian class patrol boat for PNG at Austal HQ in Henderson in November. Credit: Austal

Shipbuilder Austal has achieved a 64 per cent jump in annual profit to $61.4 million as its US naval ships business powers the Henderson-based company.

The American operation contributed almost 80 per cent of Austal’s revenue in the 12 months to June 30 of $1.85 billion. Total earnings before interest, tax and depreciation jumped by a third to $135 million.

Austal chief executive David Singleton said he was pleased that earnings growth has translated into $164 million in operating cash flow that supported a final unfranked dividend of 3¢ a share, bringing the annual dividend to 6¢, up 1¢ from last year.

“The strong cash and balance sheet position provides the capacity to invest in the business for further growth which is a position we intend to fully exploit,” he said.

“Operationally, we continued to construct and deliver high quality vessels for the US Navy but to a tempo and efficiency that surpasses what we have achieved before.

We also made investments to expand throughput capacity and reduce costs at our Australasian shipyards to support the delivery of our large order book of commercial ferries. This has enabled revenue growth of 65 per cent in that part of the business.”

As well as the Henderson shipyard, Austal’s Australasian operation builds ships in the Philippines, China and Vietnam.

The order book grew to $4.9 billion at 30 June 2019, $1.9 billion higher than 12 months ago.

Austal’s shares had risen 35¢, or 9.5 per cent, to $4.04 at 10.00am.

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