TasRail posts big loss

The state-owned rail company TasRail has reported a loss of almost $40 million, blaming worthless assets.

TasRail has made a loss of $36.3 million for the last financial year, the third consecutive loss since taxpayers took over the company in 2009.

In the 2010-11 financial year, Tasrail made a loss of $27 million and $10 million the year before.

The company puts down last year's result to a $31 million impairment expense which is recognised when the carrying amount of an asset exceeds its estimated recoverable amount.

TasRail says as some of its assets do not provide a return and are not able to be sold, they have no book value which creates an impairment charge.

But the annual report says it is important to recognise the significant impairment is not a cash loss.

Liberal spokesman Rene Hidding is concerned, saying the result follows a $6 million TasPorts loss.

"The two key players in freight and logistics in Tasmania, state-owned companies are haemorrhaging badly," he said.

"This is a window into the soul of the Tasmanian economy.

"If publicly-owned monopoly businesses loose money, how on earth are Tasmanian businesses in the private sector supposed to make a quid?" The TasRail loss comes only a week after a Chinese company was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide new rolling stock.

Unions slammed the move, saying Tasmanian companies put in bids for the contract which is understood to be worth less than $20 million.

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