While total revenues dropped by 3.9% compared with the previous corresponding period to $A 1.86bn ($US 1.34bn), net profit after tax rose by 5.3% to $ A 199.8m. PN recorded revenues of $A 1.21bn which accounted for 65% of Asciano's total and 76.7% of Ebitda at $A 420.3m.

PN's performance was driven by:
• an 11.4% increase in revenue from Queensland Bulk Rail driven by an 11.8% increase in coal net tonne-km and a 7.1% increase in volume to 28.7 million tonnes
• a 6.3% decline in revenue from its NSW/Victoria Bulk Rail division driven by a 6.9% fall in coal volume to 52.6 million tonnes but a 3.2% increase in coal net tonne-km, and
• a 4.7% decline in intermodal revenue driven by an 8.8% drop in tonne-km, a 4.3% increase in TEUs and a 1.2% decline in steel traffic.

Intermodal freight continued to be impacted by lower east-west volumes reflecting the soft Western Australian economy and relatively stronger north-south volumes.

Takeover activity surrounding PN's parent company Asciano continues with the two competing consortia Qube and Brookfield Infrastructure now in preliminary discussions over a possible joint acquisition of Asciano. Ownership of the PN rail freight business would pass to consortium partners other than Qube and Brookfield.

Asciano says the joint bid is likely to be attractive to shareholders, but for now it stands by its previous recommendation for shareholders to accept the Qube consortium bid.