James Hardie Industries

The US housing crisis is over. Or at least the numbers are leaning that way: in calendar 2012, single family house building permits rose 24%. It’s good news for James Hardie, and it explains why the stock has risen 28% since our Building materials roundup on 21 Jan 10 (Avoid – $7.84). The underlying appeal of the company’s main product – fibre cement – is reflected in the performance of its Asia-Pacific business, where sales rose 69% between 2007 and 2012 while operating margins rose from 16% to 21%. The region's performance helped cushion the impact from the US...

The US housing crisis is over. Or at least the numbers are leaning that way: in calendar 2012, single family house building permits rose 24%. It’s good news for James Hardie, and it explains why the stock has risen 28% since our Building materials roundup on 21 Jan 10 (Avoid – $7.84).

The underlying appeal of the company’s main product – fibre cement – is reflected in the performance of its Asia-Pacific business, where sales rose 69% between 2007 and 2012 while operating margins rose from 16% to 21%.

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