Transnet’s interim profits have fallen sharply on the back of the weak economy and higher finance costs. The state-owned entity whose infrastructure provides a backbone to the industrial economy through its operation of ports, railways and pipelines reported growth in revenue of 1.3% for the six months ending September. The company attributed the pedestrian revenue growth to the economy entering a technical recession in the second quarter of the year (which corresponded to the first half of the current financial year), which led to transported volumes across many of its businesses declining. Profits fell sharply by 15% to R2.84bn compared to the same period a year ago as higher depreciation and finance charges hit the bottom line. Net finance costs rose by about R1bn as the company was forced to access more expensive loan funding to support its capital investment programme as opposed to tapping the local bond market. The organisation contained operating expenses to an increase of ju...

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