JOHANNESBURG  - Beleaguered state rail operator Transnet’s profit after tax decreased by 15percent to R2.8billion from R3.4bn the year before, although profit from operations before net finance costs increased by 4percent to R9.6bn in the year to September from R9.3bn the year before. 

The group, which cleaned house by firing its chief executive, Siyabonga Gama, in October, and also suspended key executives over state capture deals, saw revenue increase to R37.6bn, marginally higher than the R37.1bn achieved in 2017. 

“Transnet’s current leadership embarked on a course of resolute action to rid the company of all malfeasance and to stabilise the organisation by restoring its integrity,” chairperson Popo Molefe noted in the results report. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased, along with net profit of R2.8bn for the period. 

“This was mainly due to management’s continued drive to improve productivity and operational efficiencies, contain costs and to optimise capital investment,” it said. 

Cost-optimisation initiatives implemented throughout the company aided cost containment, resulting in a R1.4bn saving against planned costs. Molefe said these initiatives included rationalising overtime, reducing professional and consulting fees, rolling out programmes to measure the execution of condition-assessment versus time-based maintenance, and limiting discretionary costs.