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Transurban Reports Profit on Toll Revenue, Cost Cuts

Transurban Group, Australia’s biggest operator of toll roads, returned to full-year profit on an increase in toll revenue and cost cuts.

Net income was A$59.6 million ($53.3 million) in the 12 months ended June 30, from a A$16.1 million loss a year earlier, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement today. The company named Lindsay Maxsted chairman, replacing David Ryan.

Transurban’s announcement of a return to profit comes nine months after it rejected a A$5.25-a-share takeover offer from its biggest investors. Transurban in May spurned a sweetened A$5.57-a-share offer, saying it undervalued the company.

“Our growth projects will further enhance the Group’s performance,” Transurban Chief Executive Officer Chris Lynch said in the statement. The company’s planned dividend payout next year of at least 26 cents per share “demonstrates confidence in our capacity to continue to add value,” he said.

The shares added 2.9 percent to close at A$4.56 in Sydney, paring their loss in 2010 to 17 percent.

The owner of the Pocahontas 895 in Virginia said this week it had finalized its A$630.5 million acquisition of Sydney’s Lane Cove Tunnel, after raising A$542 million in capital.

Global pension and sovereign wealth funds are seeking assets such as toll roads that deliver steady returns to match their future payouts. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of Transurban’s bidders, is in due diligence to take over the assets of Sydney-based toll-road operator Intoll Group.

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