Asciano reaffirms FY guidance

Coal volumes lift in three months to March compared to prior corresponding period.

Asciano (AIO) has reaffirmed its full-year underlying net profit guidance after increasing coal haulage volumes by 21.8% in the three months to March 31, compared with the previous corresponding period.

The rail and port operator's Pacific National business increased coal hauled to 40.8 million tonnes in the quarter, compared with 33.5 million tonnes in the three months to March 2013.

Asciano still expects to report low single digit growth in underlying NPAT in FY14, with stronger-than-forecast growth in coal and container volumes and a focus on cost-cutting tipped to offset weaker-than-expected volumes in export grain, intermodal and bulk ports.

The group said it expects full-year 2014 capital expenditure in the range of $700 million to $800m, including the Pacific National acquisition of rail terminal properties in Queensland.

Asciano said it continues to focus on reducing overhead costs and remains well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities and any improvement in volume growth in its key markets.

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