All eyes will be on the Fletcher Building shareprice when the stockmarket opens this morning.
Shares in the country's second largest listed company suffered a 4% drop in price to $6.15 each yesterday following reiteration at the company's annual meeting that weak construction activity means first half profits will be lower. The company has previously said first half earnings were likely to be down about 10% on the $166 million earned in the same period the previous year.
CEO Jonathan Ling told shareholders the company had a disappointing year and was further reviewing its cost base. Staff redundancies had taken place here and across the Tasman - although he noted these numbered in hundreds, rather than thousands of jobs lost two years back when the global financial crisis first hit the company. The firm employs about 20,000 globally.
On a positive note, he said new house buildings were expected to pick up in the new year and that work on rebuilding Christchurch should gather pace. October was a hard month to judge, he said, with the Maui gas pipeline outage affecting Fletcher businesses and the Rugby World Cup stalling Auckland activity.
Shareholders in Fletcher Building joined those in Sky City in approving an increase in the fee pool for directors' remuneration. For Fletchers, this was by $500,000 to $2 million - although shareholders were told this increase was to cover up to five years.