Ausdrill profit triples under new name Perenti

Headshot of Peter Milne
Peter MilneThe West Australian
Perenti managing director Mark Norwell.
Camera IconPerenti managing director Mark Norwell. Credit: Sharon Smith

Mining contractor Ausdrill, just renamed Perenti, has tripled its annual net profit to $181.3 million after absorbing underground mining specialist Barminco last year.

Surface mining operations, that include the original Ausdrill company, achieved a three per cent bump in revenue to $746 million but the margin on earnings before interest and tax dropped from 9 per cent to 7.6 per cent.

In contrast underground mining revenue jumped 24 per cent to $1081 million and the EBIT margin rose slightly to 15.5 per cent.

Perenti managing director Mark Norwell said surface mining, that required less technical capability, was more competitive due to a lower barrier of entry.

He said he wanted to increase returns from existing surface contracts before expanding the division. However, underground operations that are already achieving good returns, partly because they are less capital intensive, are slated for growth.

Mr Norwell, who took over from Ausdrill founder Ron Sayers last year, said the company was working to improve the technology it used, including the automation of drill hole sampling and the preparation of samples in assay laboratories.

“Mining contracting has evolved over the decades and is now a lot more technical,” he said.

He also wants to move into so-called big data by following the lead of the mining companies in analysing operational data to help win new work.

“We believe the insight we gain through the increased application of technology will generate ideas that will benefit clients on mines we don't currently operate,” he said.

Ausdrill, as the company is still listed as, was up 13.5¢, or 7.7 per cent to $1.88 at 2pm.

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