4 Mar 2011

Fletcher Building cuts earnings forecast

1:45 pm on 4 March 2011

Fletcher Building has cut its full-year earnings forecast because of the Christchurch earthquake.

The country's largest listed firm says the economic cost of the quake is expected to be two to three times higher than that of the 4 September quake, and business conditions are expected to remain at very low levels for some time.

Fletcher Building will eventually get reconstruction work in Christchurch but warns that in the short term earnings may fall.

It also says the quake has dampened already weak business conditions.

The company, which has been expected to make about $354 million in the financial year to June, has knocked between $14 million and $24 million off its full-year earnings forecast.

That takes into account the $5 million pledged by the company to aid the recovery of the country's second largest city.

Shares in Fletcher Building rose more than 1% on Friday morning and were trading at $8.82.

Nearly halfway there with Crane bid

Meanwhile, Fletchers has acceptances giving it 42.76% of the Australian building and plumbing supplies company Crane. (It needs 90% for the takeover to go ahead.)

Fletchers is offering a cash and stock deal worth $A10.07 a share for Crane, valuing it at nearly $A800 million.

The offer closes on 11 March.