Australia's Transurban H1 profit falls slightly

SYDNEY Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:51pm EST

SYDNEY Feb 13 (Reuters) - Transurban Group, Australia's biggest toll road operator, said on Thursday its first-half net profit fell slightly, missing analyst projections of an earnings increase as costs rose.

Net profit for the six months ending December 2013 was A$80.94 million ($73.12 million), 0.25 percent down from A$81.1 million a year ago.

Analysts expected the company to report an interim profit rise due to stronger traffic volume after the completion of the Hills M2 toll road upgrade in Sydney.

But the company said its free cash, a key measure for analysts to measure the company's cash generation, grew 24.5 percent to A$239.97 Million.

Transurban, which has roads in New South Wales and Victoria states, as well as in the United States, is teaming up with superannuation fund AustralianSuper and state-run Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to bid for Queensland Motorways Ltd. ($1 = 1.1070 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye and Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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