For the half-year ended 31 January 2012, Brickworks reported a 19% fall in ‘normal net profit after tax’, to $49.5m. The overall result was weighed down by a disappointing result from the Building Products division, which faced tough market conditions and large restructuring activities. The results announcement included some evidence that the poor results stem from low building activity rather than any shift away from the use of bricks. Detached housing starts (many of which are historically built from brick) in 2011 were the lowest in a decade. Reassuringly, bricks sold per housing start has held steady over that same decade, though this may be influenced by an increase in house sizes over that period. A reduction in brickmaking capacity across the nation (down 25% since 2009) should help the industry weather the downturn and profit from any recovery.
Profit from the Land & Development division was similarly subdued, with no land sales to developers during the period. Directors declared a fully franked interim dividend of 13.5 cents (ex date 16 Apr), unchanged from last year.