James Hardie turns profits

By Steve Skinner20 May 2009

James Hardie, a manufacturer and supplier of fibre cement products for construction, reported full year sales to 31 March 2009 of US$ 1.2 billion, down -18% on the US$ 1.4 billion recorded 12 months previously. Pre-tax profits for the year jumped to US$ 173 million, up from a 2007/8 loss of -US$ 36 million, a loss attributed to asbestos claims and insurance.

The company said results continue to be affected by the on-going deterioration of US residential construction, its major market. Housing starts were down to an annual rate of 510000 units, a -75% decrease on the 2006 peak.

"In a challenging environment, we continue to pursue our strategy of generating growth for fibre cement while reviewing technology to offer products with superior value," said CEO, Louis Gries.

"We are adjusting our production schedules to match output with demand to optimise our position during the downturn," said Mr Gries.

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