15 Feb 2010

Drop expected in Fletcher Building earnings

6:00 am on 15 February 2010

Fletcher Building is expected to see a fall in half-year earnings, due to a slump in commercial building and delays to government-funded infrastructure projects.

Brokerage house, Forsyth Barr is picking building products and construction firm's profit will announce on Wednesday its profits have fallen by a quarter to about $136 million.

The country's largest listed company has worked hard in recent years to diversify its business and reduce its reliance on the New Zealand housing market.

The head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, Mark Lister says that diversity means he expects mixed performance from Fletcher Building's various divisions.

Mr Lister says the residential construction has begun to recover, but, on balance, Fletcher's performance is likely to be down on the prior period.

He says Fletcher has also has strong links with Australia where the economy is outperforming most countries, including New Zealand.