Building company to axe jobs

Australia’s largest building material companies, Boral and Fletcher Building, is set to axe more than 1000 jobs.

According to the company it follows a 42 per cent fall in its net profit.

It is believed that the unpredictable conditions in the construction market has made it difficult to predict earnings for the 2013 financial year, forcing Boral to cut 800 employees and 150 contractors at its Australian building products workforce over the past two years.

Fletcher Building, which also employs about 8000 people in Australia, has also axed 230 workers from its Melbourne-based veneer panel factory.

The company is facing tough competition from imports for the building materials sector due to the high Australian dollar. Both groups said they hoped to offer guidance for fiscal 2013, The Australian reports.

Chief Executive Ross Batstone said "the fall in the underlying earnings reflects the significant fall in Australian housing activity accentuated by wet weather in the sector in the second half, together with a weaker non-residential sector”.

"This is not meant to be an excuse — it is the reality we are dealing with. We have responded quickly to weak building demand in Australia with permanent and temporary capacity closures in our brick and roof tile businesses and with overhead reductions," Batstone added.

He explained, housing starts were expected to remain well below annual average levels of 150,000 in Australia and construction market uncertainty has resulted in cost cutting through jobs.

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