Adelaide Brighton Limited (ASX: ABC) has revised 2019 earnings guidance this morning, ABC now expects net profits after tax for 2019 to be $120-$130 million, this is significantly lower than the $190 million earnt in 2018. In response to this the share price of ABC has fallen 18.75% to $3.50, this is down from a 52-week high of $7.03.
Adelaide Brighton Limited is a key manufacturer of construction materials used in building, infrastructure and mineral processing markets throughout Australia. The Company is Australia’s second-largest supplier of cement and clinker, as well as the fourth biggest producer of concrete. ABC also manufactures concrete products such as pavers, masonry and bricks.
The Australian construction market has been in decline over the past year with building approvals down 20% from June 2018. This is a result of several factors, including tighter lending restrictions imposed by the big four banks following the Royal Commission causing a reduction in demand for new residential construction.
Government infrastructure spending has also fallen, failing to outpace the slump in construction projects caused by the end of the mining boom. With infrastructure-related projects growing by 24% over 2018 failing to account for a 60% decline in resource construction expected over 2019.
ABC also has attributed its decline in earnings as a result of increased competition in Queensland and South Australian markets sustained raw material price increases and one-off costs associated with cancelled orders for softening Victorian markets.
The Company has also undertaken a balance sheet review that has resulted in a non-cash impairment of $100 million pre-tax. ABC claims this represents less than 5% of its total assets and will not impact its operational performance.
These ongoing challenges for ABC have resulted in the company announcing that they do not plan to distribute an interim dividend for the period ending 30 June 2019. ABC maintains its priorities; to secure market share, strengthen its balance sheet, manage capital spending, contain costs and pursue future growth. However, current market conditions may see ABC facing continued difficulty in achieving these goals and improve earnings, as construction is expected to continue its decline into 2021.
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