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James Hardie profit up despite housing headwinds

Chief executive Jack Truong said the company’s cladding products were winning market share away from bricks, vinyl and engineered wood products.

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“Our material is really more easy to install¬†than bricks and it costs less, and it takes less time,” he said.

The company expects “modest growth” in the US housing market in the current financial year, with new housing starts estimated at between 1.2 million and 1.3 million.

“In Australia, we anticipate that our addressable underlying market will continue to experience high single digit percent contraction in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019. We expect volume from our Australian business to continue to grow above the market,” the company said.

James Hardie is the third key player in the building materials sector to give guidance to the market or report financial results in the past week or so, and it delivered the most upbeat announcement of the three.

Last week CSR reported that its net profit from continuing operations had fallen 20 per cent for the half year to $71.6 million. And on Wednesday Boral reaffirmed its profit guidance for the current financial year at its annual meeting in Sydney. Boral said its full-year profit (before significant items) for the current financial year would be 5-15 per cent lower than 2019.

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