Australia's Incitec flags losses as Queensland flooding hits rail route

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(Reuters) – Australia’s Incitec Pivot Ltd said on Monday it would face a weekly loss due to the closure of a rail line connecting the flood-hit city of Townsville in northern Queensland and its fertilizer plant.

The industrial explosives maker said the rail closure would see about A$10 million ($7.08 million) a week wiped off its earnings before interest and tax from Feb. 9 until production can resume.

The company, over the weekend, started to shut down plants within its ammonium phosphate Phosphate Hill facility, it added in a statement.

The northeastern state of Queensland was the scene of severe flooding last week, which forced thousands of people to evacuate after authorities opened up dam gates as torrential rains filled reservoirs to overflowing.

Incitec said its Phosphate Hill facility had not sustained any damage from the flooding, but added that its Townsville fertilizer distribution and port facilities experienced minor damage but were operational.

Townsville, a major port for northern Australia, is the country’s top exporter of copper, zinc, lead and sugar.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney