February 1, 2018 / 9:38 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's James Hardie Industries Q3 profit rises 33 pct

(Adds detail, background, CEO commentary)

Feb 2 (Reuters) - Australia’s James Hardie Industries PLC reported a 32.9 percent rise in third-quarter profit on Friday, supported by higher prices for its products and modest volume growth.

Adjusted net operating profit for the world’s No. 1 maker of fibre cement home paneling rose to $69.9 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31 from $52.6 million a year earlier.

For the nine months to the end of the quarter, the company reported net operating profit of $203.7 million. James Hardie said it expects net operating profit for the full-year ending March 31 to be between $260 million and $275 million.

The company posted adjusted net operating profit of $248.6 million in fiscal 2017.

“We are on track to increase manufacturing capacity, improve the performance of our North America manufacturing network and drive improved primary demand growth,” said Louis Gries, Chief Executive of James Hardie.

Third-quarter net sales rose 9 percent to $495.1 million, mostly because of a jump in average net sales price in the North America Fiber Cement business and higher sales volumes in the International Fiber Cement segment.

The company also booked a $26.1 million charge on early debt repayment, leading to a 9 percent fall in its third quarter statutory net operating profit.

James Hardie, which makes nearly four-fifths of its sales in North America has been benefitting from a recovery in the U.S. housing market. New home sales in the world’s largest economy, rose 8.3 percent in 2017 to 608,000 units. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair and Andrew Heavens)

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