NZ's Fletcher Building H1 profit down, cuts profit outlook

WELLINGTON Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:17pm EST

WELLINGTON Feb 22 (Reuters) - Fletcher Building Ltd , New Zealand's largest listed company, reported a 13 percent fall in half year profit on Wednesday and lowered its full-year guidance due to weak building activity in key markets.

The company said net profit for the six months to Dec. 31 was NZ$144 million ($120 million), compared with NZ$166 million the previous year.

Its profits were lower than forecasts issued in November, when the company warned a construction slowdown had eaten into first half earnings and it expected a six month profit of around NZ$150 million.

Fletcher Building said it expected a full year profit to be between NZ$310 million and NZ$340 million, lower against its guidance last November of around NZ$359 million.

It declared an interim dividend of 17 cents per share, compared with 16 cents last year.

Shares in Fletcher Building closed on Tuesday at NZ$6.64. So far this year it has risen more than 4 percent compared with a flat showing for the benchmark NZX-50 index.

Fletcher Building has interests in steel, concrete, panel products, insulation and aluminium products, and is the world's biggest laminates maker. It dominates the New Zealand building products market thand competes in Australia with companies such as Boral Ltd. and CSR Ltd. ($1 = 1.1949 New Zealand dollars) (Gyles Beckford)

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