Shares in James Hardie are up after the construction materials supplier lifted its full-year profit 57 per cent to $US228.8 million ($A331 million) despite cutting its final dividend.
The company said it shook off a softening housing market in Australia to record a 22 per cent lift revenue for the 12 months to March 31 to $US2.51 billion, driven by its acquisition of Fermacell in Europe and higher net sales in its North America Fiber Cement segment.
The company’s ASX-listed shares were up 4.32 per cent to $18.60 at 1130 AEST, still 17 per cent down on $22.45 a year ago.
James Hardie reported on Tuesday that its net operating profit increased for the quarter and full year, driven by fewer-than-expected asbestos-related adjustments and higher gross profit, partially offset by higher income tax expense and general expenses.
Adjusted operating profit for the year, which excludes one-off items such as compensation payments to people claiming asbestos-related illness, was $US300.5 million ($A434.2 million), a rise of three per cent and in line with a downgraded outlook published in November.
Chief executive Jack Truong said the Australian and Philippines businesses led the way in gaining volume growth above that in their underlying market.
“This strong growth was achieved despite a continued, softening Australian housing market throughout the year,” Dr Truong said.
James Hardie received 568 asbestos-related illness claims for the year, a slight uptick on a year ago but 8.0 per cent below estimates.
The average asbestos claim settlement was 24 per cent below estimates at $253,000.
The company also booked US$24.1 million discontinuation expenses, including costs related to the exit of its fibreglass windows business
James Hardie said it would pay a final unfranked dividend of 26 US cents, down from 30 US cents a year ago.
JAMES HARDIE LIFTS FY19 PROFIT, CUTS DIVIDEND
* Net profit up 57pct to $US228.8m ($A331m)
* Revenue up 22pct to $US2.51b ($3.63b)
* Final dividend 26 US cents, unfranked, down from 30 US cents.