Fletcher Building shares slump as earnings guidance slashed

Fletcher Building cuts earnings guidance by 13pc on mounting losses

March 20 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Shareholders Association says Fletcher Building's announcement of a $110 million downgrade to full-year earnings guidance leaves investors with a lack of detailed answers and raises questions about chief executive Mark Adamson's performance.

The shares fell by 12% on the NSX and more than 11% on the ASX at one stage yesterday in the wake of the earnings downgrade and confirmation of big losses on several major construction division contracts.

Fletcher has cut its full-year operating earnings forecast by $110 million to a range of $610 million to $650 million, saying the revised guidance "is due to the identification of additional estimated losses and downside risk in the buildings and interiors (B&I) business unit of the construction division".

Mr Dakin declined to comment specifically about Fletcher but said as a consumer of construction services, Goodman had faced "significant cost escalation" from the half dozen builders the company regularly used.

Its shares were placed in a trading halt on Friday, pending today's announcement.

That dragged the overall NZX down by almost 1 percent. The spokesman described the precinct as "the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand's history".

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Fletcher Building said the losses were in its buildings and interiors unit of the construction division.

Fletcher said the main problems were in the complexity of design, subcontractor management and building programme delivery, which delayed the projects and led to higher costs.

It would not name to two projects due to client confidentiality, but one would be completed shortly, and the other in 2019. "The criteria for bidding major construction projects have been made more stringent, and internal review processes for proposed and existing projects have been strengthened".

Shares in Fletcher Building, the country's biggest listed company, have taken a hit after it slashed its full-year earnings guidance by more than $100m. "We've seen massive construction price escalation".

"All other business units within the Construction division have continued their strong trading performance".

Other major construction projects include Auckland's convention centre and Hobson Street hotel, a $700 million contract, the $425 million Commercial Bay development in Auckland for Precinct Properties, and roading work including the Waterview Connection, and Puhoi to Warkworth.

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