Transnet's Durban container port. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Transnet said annual profit rose 25 percent as South Africa’s state-owned rail and ports operator boosted revenue from transporting minerals.

Net income advanced to 5.17 billion rand in the 12 months ended March 31 from 4.14 billion rand a year earlier, chief executive Brian Molefe told reporters today in Johannesburg.

Revenue increased 13 percent to 56.6 billion rand, he said.

The state-owned company is investing about 308 billion rand over seven years through 2019 to increase capacity in rail freight, ports and fuel pipelines in Africa’s second-biggest economy.

Transnet hauls coal for companies including Glencore to Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the world’s biggest such facility, and moves goods for manufacturers such as Nissan Motor.

“It’s the first time that our profits are above 5 billion rand,” Molefe said.

In March, the company signed a 50 billion-rand contract with four companies including General Electric and Bombardier for the supply of 1,064 electric and diesel locomotives.

Transnet plans to raise about 40 billion rand in the year through March 2015 as it invests in new infrastructure and equipment. The company’s borrowings rose 24 percent to 90.4 billion rand by March 31, Molefe said.

Rail volumes climbed 1.3 percent to 210.4 million metric tons from a year earlier, led by a 25 percent gain in containers and automotive and a 14 increase percent in mineral mining and chrome, Transnet said in a statement handed to reporters.

The volume of coal hauled in the period fell to 83.1 million tons from 84.3 million tons a year earlier mainly after Richards Bay Coal Terminal, located on South Africa’s northeastern coast, had to halt operations for almost 10 days in February because of faults on municipal power cables that cut supply, Molefe said.

Volumes of iron ore railed for export declined 3 percent to 54.3 million tons, he said.

Transnet moves the steelmaking ingredient for clients such as Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore unit. - Bloomberg News