Big activity increase needed to lift earnings: new Fletcher boss

New Fletcher Building chief executive Mark Adamson
Departing CEO Jonathan Ling

Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.

Launch Radio player

Building activity will have to climb significantly to see a dramatic earnings increase this financial year, Fletcher Building's Mark Adamson says.

Mr Adamson, who will take over from chief executive Jonathan Ling in October, said at a briefing in Auckland today following its full-year result, he does not think a 20% lift in earnings is possible this financial year given the poor outlook for construction.

"We would need to see a significant increase in activity beyond where we are today."

That comment comes after analysts' optimism ahead of the company's result

Fletcher's share price (NZX: FBU) tumbled 28 cents, or more than 4%, by midday, to $6.38. 

Mr Adamson says the business's strategic review, involving external consultants, will identify further cost reductions and possible divestment of "non-core assets".

He says the company wants further efficiencies to drive earnings ahead of the cycle.

However, he says he doesn't have Mr Ling's drive to spread the business more geographically.

Construction backlog

Mr Ling says Fletcher's has a $1.1 billion construction backlog to the end of June, including Auckland's Waterview connection and Wiri Prison.

However, he says those projects will not start in earnest until the second half of the financial year, shifting any revenue to FY14.

Mr Ling says momentum is starting to build for Christchurch's rebuild.

"My view is that it will be a long, hard, slow road," he says.

"It's going to take quite some time to get back to the levels of house-building we were doing before the earthquake."

'Tougher than expected'

Fewer new houses being built and ongoing earthquakes in Christchurch led to a tougher than expected year, Mr Ling says.

the key markets in which Fletcher competes remain difficult.

"The year has been tougher than anticipated and tougher than the prior year."

He says New Zealand experienced lower levels of new house building, ongoing disruption to the Canterbury rebuild, and a slowdown in commercial construction infrastructure spending.

Australia residential and commercial consents continues to slow.

Fletcher Building's concrete and cranes division increased earnings. The building products, construction, distribution, laminates and panels and steel divisions all had significant declines.

The company makes 41% of its revenue from New Zealand, 47% in Australia, with 12% in the rest of the world.

Fletcher will hold its annual shareholders' meeting in November.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

NZ Market Snapshot


Sym Price Change
USD 0.7482 -0.0013 -0.17%
AUD 0.9827 0.0037 0.38%
EUR 0.6965 0.0042 0.61%
GBP 0.5055 -0.0009 -0.18%
HKD 5.8013 -0.0100 -0.17%
JPY 89.6870 -0.2490 -0.28%


Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1186.0 -12.220 2015-03-30T00:
Oil Brent 56.3 -0.120 2015-03-30T00:
Oil Nymex 48.7 -0.190 2015-03-30T00:
Silver Index 16.7 -0.390 2015-03-30T00:


Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5821.3 5838.9 5821.3 0.22%
NASDAQ 4921.8 4948.5 4891.2 1.15%
DAX 12054.2 12119.7 12086.0 -0.89%
DJI 17727.5 18008.6 17712.7 1.49%
FTSE 6891.4 6910.1 6891.4 -1.28%
HKSE 25113.2 25113.2 24855.1 0.18%
NI225 19592.4 19607.2 19411.4 -1.05%