14 Feb 2011

Improved result expected for Fletcher Building

6:02 am on 14 February 2011

Fletcher Building's exposure to the Australian market and the turnaround of its Formica business is expected to lead to growth in its half year earnings.

The building products and construction company reveals its results on Wednesday and Morningstar senior equities analyst Nachi Moghe is picking a better result than last year.

He says Fletcher's derives approximately 45% of its income from the Australian market which he says has been strong.

Mr Moghe says Formica, Fletcher's US-based laminates business, has been restructured which has improved its profitability in the last year.

Last week the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission approved the acquisition of the Crane Group, a plumbing and building supplies company.

Stocks in Fletcher's fell last month over investor fears it may spend millions of dollars on another troubled company.

$A800 million deal

Fletcher Building is offering a cash and stock deal worth $A10.07 per share, valuing the firm at almost $A800 million.

And Mr Moghe says the move will give Fletcher Building even greater access to the Australian market.

But he says it will depend on whether Fletchers can transform the Crane Group which has not had a good track record for the last five to six years.