14 Aug 2008

Fletcher Building battens down

8:02 am on 14 August 2008

Fletcher Building is battening down to prepare for an ever deepening recession.

The building products and construction firm saw profit drop 4% to $467 million dollars in the June year.

It was the first drop in annual profit since being created out of Fletcher Challenge seven years ago.

Fletcher Building also declines to reveal its forecasts for the coming financial year.

Chief executive Jonathan Ling says the outlook is grim for its New Zealand operations and a tight rein will be kept on costs. Some factories and smaller Placemakers stores may be closed.

Mr Ling says the company has put some residential building projects on hold, but he's happy with its 26% exposure to that market.

On a bright note, Fletcher Building has a $1.3 billion backlog of construction work.

Shares in Fletcher Building finished up 15 cents at $6.58 on Wednesday.