Boral says earnings down 3-5pct in 2020

Boral says its earnings for January to April have been down three to five per cent compared to the first half as it weathers the coronavirus crisis.

The building and construction products manufacturer’s 396 sites in Australia have been allowed to continue operations as an essential service, as have most of its 223 sites in North America.

But chief executive Mike Kane said “the impacts of COVID-19 measures on our people and our markets have been significant and will be for some time.”

In Australia, concrete volumes were down 16 per cent and revenue down six per cent in the four months to the end of April, Boral said, blaming the bushfires and extreme weather in February as well as the coronavirus.

There has been a particular decline in NSW multi-residential buildings, Boral said.

The company has increased its liquidity with a new US private placement of $US200 million, as well as new loan facilities totalling $365 million, and extending some $US665 million in debt for another two years.

The company had $2.6 billion in net debt in April, with a net gearing ratio of 31 per cent.

“Together with careful management to preserve cash, we have further bolstered Boral’s liquidity position, and our balance sheet remains robust,” Mr Kane said.

The company has reduced capital expenditure by 15 to 20 per cent to $330 million, as well as reducing labour costs.

At 1325 AEST, Boral shares were down 4.7 per cent to $2.45.

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