16 Aug 2013

Profit rise for Steel Tube Holdings

1:44 pm on 16 August 2013

Steel Tube Holdings has lifted annual net profit 19%, boosted by the Christchurch rebuild despite a number of adverse headwinds.

Net profit for the year ended June rose to $15.6 million from $13.1 million the previous year.

The company's sales fell 3% to $393 million, reflecting lower steel prices in New Zealand dollar terms because of the currency's rise. Steel prices in US dollars actually rose.

Steel Tube says it had expected its second half to be stronger but the construction momentum it saw in Christchurch in the first half disipated in February through April, with a small recovery in May and June.

It says, with the exception of increasing residential consents and specific key infrastructure projects in Auckland, most other regions remained subdued during the year.

Forsyth Barr analyst James Bascand says the result was broadly in line with expectations.

"The Christchurch rebuild comes down to a timing issue as much as anything with the deferral of work," he says.

He says there is no real sign yet of the key anchor projects in Christchurch.

Steel Tube says the New Zealand economy now appears to be slowly gaining momentum across an increasingly broad range of sectors.

It says its optimism remains tempered until it sees an actual uplift in the sectors it serves.