Building products group Brickworks expects to maintain its half year profit growth into the full year as a continuing property boom on the east coast fuels record demand for its products.
Australia’s largest maker of bricks and tiles posted its best-ever first half revenue of $358 million in the main building products division and said the short-term outlook was very positive, helped by residential building activity in Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland.
“We are very confident the east coast can run for a while,” Chairman Robert Millner told AAP on Wednesday.
Record low interest rates have fuelled a housing boom across Australia for more than two years, but property prices are expected to moderate this year as more stock comes onto the market.
Brickworks reported an 82 per surge in half year net profit to $76.9 million.
Excluding significant items, underlying net profit for the six months ending January 31 rose 19.4 per cent to $75 million, with the company continuing to implement price increases.
Despite the momentum, Mr Millner warned that external constraints were limiting further growth, specifically focusing on rising domestic gas prices as well as skill and product shortages in the industry.
Brickworks, which currently carts bricks from South Australia and Western Australia to NSW to meet demand, is finding it’s cheaper to import from Spain instead, Mr Millner said, adding that the company was considering boosting supplies from overseas.
The company also posted a 17.3 per cent rise in earnings in its land and development business to $45.4 million, buoyed by property revaluations in the property trust.
However, earnings from its investments fell 11 per cent to $26.8 million, mainly due to lower dividends from Washington Soul Pattinson subsidiaries New Hope Corporation, CopperChem and Exco Resources.
Brickworks owns 42.7 per cent of investment group Washington H Soul Pattinson, which in turn owns 44.3 per cent of the building products maker.
Soul Pattinson, which is also chaired by Mr Millner, on Wednesday reported that its half year underlying profit dropped 5.2 per cent to $83.6 million, mainly due to the impact of lower coal, oil and copper prices on the results of its mining-focused businesses.
Coal miner New Hope, in which Soul Pattinson has a near 60 per cent stake, in February reported a slump in half year profit due to a further slide in coal prices.
“It’s been a tough first half in the market, so for us to have increased our portfolio value in this period is a good thing,” Soul Pattinson managing director Todd Barlow said.
Shares in Brickworks, which last week moved into the benchmark ASX 200 index, were trading seven cents lower at $15.68.
Soul Pattinson shares were up 15 cents at $16.75 each.
BRICKWORKS RECORD HALF YEAR REVENUE
* Revenue of $360m, up 3pct
* Net profit of $76.9m, up 82.2pct
* Underlying profit of $75m, up 19.4pct
* Interim dividend of 16 cents, up from 15 cents
MINING WEIGHS ON SOUL PATTINSON
* Revenue of $272.3m, down 23.3pct
* Net profit of $95.4m, up 41.7pct
* Underlying profit of $83.6m, down 5.2pct
* Interim dividend of 21 cents, up from 20 cents.