James Hardie flags US growth

Group expects earnings in US market to increase as housing starts rise.

James Hardie Industries Ltd expects more growth in the United States housing market than in Australia and will expand its capacity accordingly.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the group said it expects earnings to revenue margins in the US to increase in the 2014 financial year as growth in sales revenues exceeds growth in organisational spend.

James Hardie said the American operating environment continues to reflect an increasing number of housing starts and improved house values.

The repair and remodel market is expected to keep growing this calendar year, but at a slower rate than the new housing market.

The company is investing in capacity expansions through refurbishing and re-commissioning idled facilities, as well as funding market and organisational development initiatives.

By contrast, the group expects the Australian market to stay relatively subdued and does not expect any substantial increase in net sales in the 2014 calendar year.

Investors appeared to welcome the news. At 1143 AEST, James Hardie shares were 1.25% higher at $9.71, against a benchmark index lift of 0.85%.

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