28 Jul 2012

Mainfreight seeks to be NZ's biggest company by 2028

7:30 pm on 28 July 2012

The listed company Mainfreight has set its sights on becoming New Zealand's biggest company by 2028.

The transport and logistics firm held its annual general meeting in Auckland on Thursday after posting a record profit result in May.

Investors were told underlying profit rose 39% to $65.7 million for the year to the end of March, while revenue rose 35% to $1.8 billion.

They were also told by managing director Don Braid that the firm had set a lofty goal for its 50th birthday in 2028.

"It's a bit of tongue in cheek, Mainfreight becomes New Zealand's largest company by size and market capitalisation," Mr Braid said, "[but] you know, we firmly believe that we could get there."

Mr Braid said it will be about what Mainfreight does around the world, although New Zealand is an important part of that.

He said the company has also set a target of $3 billion in sales by 2016.

'Few companies can compare'

Executive chairman and founding owner Bruce Plested said the firm had performed extremely well in recent times with net profits up 62% and sales up 99% since 2007.

"These are formidable numbers," Mr Plested said, "and there are few companies in New Zealand which can compare with these year-on-year results, nor the results achieved through the global financial crisis."

But investors were told the company could do better, particularly in some of its newer markets.

Mr Braid said revenue in Europe had been damaged by the loss of three big clients, while business in Asia was hampered by an inability to find suitable air freight capacity at the right price.

The company is switching from quarterly to half-yearly reporting.

Mainfreight shares closed steady at $9.45 on Thursday.