James Hardie's Profit Plunges 80% But The Building Outlook Is Positive

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Net profit at James Hardie slumped 80% to $US28.9 million in the three months to the end of June, the building product group’s first quarter results, on the back of increased expenses and foreign exchange losses.

The company blamed increased interest expenses, foreign exchange losses and a 12% bigger tax bill.

However, net sales were up 12% to $US416.8 million.

The company continues to expect improvement in the US operating environment although at a more moderate level than originally assumed.

“The recent flattening in housing activity has created some uncertainty about the pace of the recovery in the short-term,” says CEO Louis Gries.

In Australia, sales from the Australian business are expected to improve, tracking in line with expected growth in the detached housing market and an expected positive movement in the repair and remodel market.

James Hardie expects full year results to be below analyst expectations which had been for net operating profit excluding asbestos for the year ending March 31, 2015, of between $US226 million and $US261 million.

The company now expects full year adjusted net operating profit to be between $US205 million and $US235 million assuming housing industry conditions in the United States continue to improve at a more moderate level than originally assumed at the beginning of the year.

James Hardie first quarter results

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