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Boral expects tough times to continue

Building products maker Boral is preparing for another difficult year after suffering a $212 million annual loss.


Boral’s net loss in the year to June 30 was down from a $177 million profit in the 2011/12 financial year.

The result was dragged down by $316 million in asset writedowns and costs of its restructure, which involved the removal of 2,130 jobs from the business in the year.

With those costs excluded, underlying profit was $104 million, up three per cent from the previous year.

But chief executive Mike Kane said the company continued to face significant challenges.

“We experienced low levels of activity, … intensified competition and $15 million of unrecoverable costs associated with the carbon tax,” he told reporters.

The company expects conditions to remain tough this financial year, and believes the key housing construction sector will remain “broadly flat” for the next 12 months.

“What we’re seeing today is that NSW and Western Australia are up yet Queensland and Victoria are down,” Mr Kane said.

“That sort of mixed result from the geographic spread tends to flatten out our business results.

“It’s very much a picture of a marketplace that is moving laterally rather than in any direction, up or down.”

Boral’s construction materials and cement arm recorded solid earnings growth during 2012/13 and is likely to remain strong this year, Mr Kane said.

But its building products division, which makes bricks, timber products and roof tiles, remained a drag on the company.

The building products division suffered a $40 million loss during the year, while the company’s US division also continued to lose money.

Mr Kane said building products would remain a weak point this financial year but the US business is expected to return to profitability late this financial year.

Boral shares gained 14 cents, or 3.3 per cent, to $4.41.

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