August 20, 2019 / 9:17 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-NZ's Fletcher Building reports annual profit on stronger local demand

(Adds segmental metrics, context)

Aug 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s home builder Fletcher Building Ltd posted an annual net profit on Wednesday, compared with a year-earlier loss, boosted by increased home sales and higher demand for its building products in its domestic market.

The company reported a 13% increase in revenue from its local residential segment to NZ$526 million ($337.32 million), as it sold more homes at higher prices.

The company’s Australian business, however, continued to suffer amid a steep property downturn in the country. Earnings before tax from the business halved to NZ$57 million.

Australia’s housing market has been under immense strain, with housing prices having fallen every month since late 2017.

The company said it expects weakness in the residential market in Australia to continue into next year.

Overall, net profit after tax for the year came in at NZ$164 million, compared with a loss of NZ$190 million a year earlier.

The company reinstated dividend payment in the 2019 fiscal and declared a final dividend of 15 cents per share.

$1 = 1.5593 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Anil D'Silva

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