Brickworks expects earnings fall to end
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Bricks and masonry maker Brickworks says its earnings have stabilised in recent months, but the timing of a recovery in the housing sector remains unknown.
Earnings from Brickworks' building products operations had fallen over the 18 months to the end of July 2012 because of weak housing construction activity.
But earnings in the three months to the end of October were steady compared to the same period in the previous year, shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday were told.
Sales volumes were down in the period, but earnings stabilised because of higher prices, managing director Lindsay Partridge said.
Earnings from the building products business are expected to be steady over the full year to July 31, 2013, he said.
Changes made to each of Brickworks' divisions have reduced its cost base and prepared the company to handle the current depressed conditions, Mr Partridge said.
"The easing of interest rates that commenced this time last year has yet to have any meaningful impact on detached housing approvals and construction," he told the meeting.
"Although there is some anecdotal evidence that a recovery is imminent, it remains difficult to forecast when conditions might improve given the headwinds that still constrain a sustained recovery."
Brickworks' net profit in the year to the end of July 2012 was $43.3 million, down 70 per cent on the previous year.
The company's shares were up nine cents at $11.30 at 1220 AEDT.