February 18, 2019 / 12:59 AM / 7 months ago

REFILE-Australian garbage collector joins firms hit by property downturn

(Fixes typographical error in headline)

* Bingo says construction waste growth below expectations

* Joins host of firms hit by property and building downturn

* Bingo shares fall 45 pct to record low

By Tom Westbrook

SYDNEY, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Australian garbage handler Bingo Industries Ltd on Monday said it had missed its forecasts for first-half building-waste growth due to slowing construction activity, joining a host of firms feeling the pinch of a property market downturn.

Bingo’s shares fell by almost half on the news, which follows weak results at businesses from car repairers to building suppliers, developers and realtors as the sharpest home price falls in a generation reverberate through the economy.

Tighter lending, higher taxes on foreigners and an apartment glut have wiped out nearly two years of property price gains in recent months, which has pushed construction approvals to five-year lows and squeezed retailers as consumers tighten up.

“I think what Bingo is telling us is that overall the property cycle is weak and it’s going to remain weak,” said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at stockbroker Blue Ocean Equity.

It also shows that a slowdown in construction is no longer just turning up in forward indicators, but already being felt, as the Sydney-based company said growth at its building and demolition collection businesses was slower than forecast.

“Pricing is actually going backwards,” Bingo Chief Executive Officer Daniel Tartak said on a conference call with analysts, citing competition.

Bingo shares had their worst day since the company listed in 2017, plunging 45 percent to A$1.20 ($0.8573). The broader market rose 0.6 percent.

The property downturn has put investors and the central bank on the lookout for signs of a broader economic malaise.

Australia’s largest listed realtor, McGrath Ltd, on Monday posted a first-half loss and said market conditions were expected to remain soft during 2019.

Housing classified websites REA Group Ltd and Domain Holdings Australia Ltd have forecast slower growth, building supplier Boral Ltd has cut its earnings outlook and auto sellers and repairers have reported weak results.

Developer Mirvac Group and electronics seller JB Hi-Fi Ltd have bucked the trend.

$1 = 1.3998 Australian dollars Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Stephen Coates

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