SYDNEY, AAP – Building materials supplier James Hardie has lifted its earnings forecast for the financial year after booming first-quarter sales.

The fibre cement provider on Tuesday increased its full-year forecast to between $US550 million ($750 million) and $US590 million in adjusted net income.

The previous forecast for the 12 months to March 31 next year was between $US520 million and $US570 million.

The change comes after first-quarter global sales improved by 35 per cent to $US843.3 million.

James Hardie reported early success from its efforts to appeal directly to homeowners, rather than just building industry workers. The company is advertising on TV across the US, where it makes most of its money, to influence those renovating.

Chief executive Jack Truong said consumer behaviour had changed during the pandemic.

“In the US, we have more and more people wanting to remodel their homes,” he said. This was due in part to industry not building enough new homes to meet demand.

“So there is heightened awareness for home owners to stay put and remodel their homes.”

Quarterly sales in North America improved 28 per cent to $577.1 million.

In Australia, the company has continued to run key manufacturing plants in Brisbane and Sydney despite coronavirus lockdowns.

The company’s other products include cladding, wall systems and floors.

James Hardie shares hit an all-time high of $50.72 on Tuesday before easing. Shares were still higher by 3.9 per cent to $49.80 at 1408 AEST.