Transurban share price in focus following record first half

The company also revealed its CEO will soon step down and announced a new major partnership.

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Key points

  • The Transurban share price could be in for a big day after the toll road operator revealed a record first half 
  • Its proportional toll road revenue jumped 42.6% to $1.66 billion last half, driven by record traffic on its roads
  • It also upped its full-year dividend guidance to 57 cents per share – representing a potential 39% year-on-year increase

The Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) share price is on watch after the toll road operator dropped its earnings for the first half of financial year 2023.

It also announced the upcoming departure of long-term CEO Scott Charlton and a new partnership with CDPQ.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) infrastructure share last traded at $14.03.

Transurban share price surges on record earnings

  • Proportional toll revenue reached a record $1.66 billion – up 42.6% on the prior comparable period (pcp)
  • Proportional total revenue jumped 41.1% on the pcp to $1.72 billion
  • Proportional earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 53.7% to $1.24 billion
  • Post-tax profit of $55 million– up from a $106 million loss in the pcp
  • Free cash, including capital releases, increased 88% to $863 million
  • Declared a 26.5 cents per share interim dividend – a 76.7% increase

Transurban saw record traffic volumes last half, with its average daily traffic (ADT) surpassing 2.5 million trips in November 2022.

The company's record revenue and EBITDA were supported by such traffic levels, as well as inflation-linked toll increases.

Transurban continued work at many of its developments last half, with Sydney's M4-M8 link opening last month. Work also continued at Melbourne's West Gate Tunnel Project. The tunnel excavation is expected to be done by the middle of the year.

Transurban announces CEO resignation and new partnership

Transurban also announced its CEO of 11 years will be stepping down at the end of 2023. The company has begun a global search for a new CEO. Commenting on Charlton's resignation, chair Craig Drummond said:

Scott has been a visionary in the industry … under his leadership, the company has grown to become an ASX 20 listed entity, increasing its market capitalisation by more than five times to over $43 billion and has delivered total security holder returns of 289%.

Meanwhile, it's again partnered with global investment group CDPQ, this time on its A25 asset in Montreal, Canada. The group was also a co-investor in Sydney's WestConnex. CDPQ will take on a 50% partnership in the asset for CAD$355 million (around $383.7 million).

What did management say?

Charlton commented on the earnings release likely to drive the Transurban share price today, saying:

Our roads have benefitted from freight volumes which achieved an all-time high, ongoing traffic growth in our core markets, and the continued investment in business capability to improve the experience for our more than 10 million customers.

We have seen record traffic in Brisbane, as well as in Sydney … This performance was underpinned by the urban nature of our roads, demonstrating that the diversity of everyday journeys across commuting, travel and leisure trips provides resilience throughout economic cycles

What's next?

Charlton said around 68% of the company's toll revenue is linked to CPI escalations, but the timing of the escalations can be delayed.

As such, the flow through from recent higher inflation figures hasn't yet been recognised in some markets.

It also upped its previous full-year dividend guidance by 4% to 57 cents per share.

Transurban share price snapshot

The Transurban share price has been outperforming the ASX 200 as of late.

The stock has gained 9.5% year to date compared to the index's 8.5% increase.

Transurban shares have also risen 9.2% over the last 12 months. Meanwhile, the ASX 200 has lifted 6%.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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