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Transurban buoyed by Trump building plan

 

Transurban has racked up a near fourfold increase in first-half profit and the toll road operator is looking for more to come thanks to US President Donald Trump's planned infrastructure splurge.

The toll road giant made a $331 million profit in the six months to December 31 - up from $88 million the previous corresponding period - buoyed by a 9.6 per cent rise in toll revenue.

Transurban has toll roads in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Greater Washington Area in the US.

The latter demonstrated the largest toll revenue growth, with a 17.9 per cent increase, and President Trump's $US1.5 trillion infrastructure plan could lead to more opportunities in the region.

Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton said the company may consider projects in neighbouring Maryland and in US cities with strong population growth.

"We are pretty buoyed by the approach to involve the private sector," Mr Charlton said.

"It's a move in the right direction and should benefit Transurban and other Australian infrastructure players over the medium and long term."

Trump wants US Congress to approve $US200 billion of spending on roads, highways, ports and airports over the next decade, and hopes the US states and private sector will contribute another $US1.3 trillion.

In Australia, Transurban's toll revenue grew by 14.2 per cent in Melbourne, 9.8 per cent in Sydney and 3.5 per cent in Brisbane.

Transurban is bidding for control of NSW government-owned motorway WestConnex, but Mr Charlton played down reports his company is a frontrunner.

"No asset is a must win asset for us," Mr Charlton said.

"It's important to know that the last time we bid against (Spanish toll road company) Cintra, we lost by $1 billion in a $3 billion project."

In Victoria, construction has begun on the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel project but state opposition and the Greens are stalling the project in parliament.

Tunnel construction was to be largely funded by Transurban, but neither the tunnel plans nor a concession deed to extend the company's tolling of CityLink to help fund it have passed.

Transurban shares dropped two cents to $11.33.

TRANSURBAN PROFIT COMES UP TRUMPS

* Half-year net profit of $331m v $88m

* Revenue up 21.9pct to $1.6b

* Interim dividend up 3 cents to 28 cents, fully franked