Builder posts loss for second year running

Construction group Watpac has posted its second consecutive loss despite the listed developer selling off more than $120 million in property assets and clearing its property-related debt during the financial year.

Construction group Watpac has posted its second consecutive loss despite the listed developer selling off more than $120 million in property assets and clearing its property-related debt during the financial year.

The group has reported an after-tax loss of $4.7 million in 2012-13, which comes on the heels of a $50.2 million loss the previous year. There will be no full-year dividend.

Watpac management, which characterised the past financial year as a period of "consolidation and organisational reform", blamed the loss on costs associated with closing its civil operations in Queensland and Victoria and nearly $11 million in property impairments.

Chief executive Martin Monro said it was the year Watpac "had to have" to improve chances for a return to profitability in 2013-14.

"The work that's been done has been difficult, challenging and absolutely costly in a return-to-shareholder sense. We said a year ago we needed to get our operating overhead costs down, exit non-performing business units and sell non-core property assets and pay down property debt. The good news is we have achieved all those things."

Civil operations in Queensland and Victoria had made "reasonably significant losses" in recent years, he said.

Watpac's latest projects include a $600 million residential complex near Sydney's Central Park and a $52 million municipal building for the City of Greater Dandenong.