Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest construction company, asks for trading halt

Fletcher Building said it expects further "material losses" at its building and interiors business and expects to be in breach of its banking covenants once the losses are quantified.

Its stock and capital notes were halted pending a review of buildings and interiors - known as B+I - projects.

"Although the project reviews are not yet complete, the current expectation of the board is that there will be further material losses in the B+I business beyond what was provided for in October 2017," the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

"Once the extent of those further losses is determined and provided for, it is expected that this would result in a breach of one or more of the covenants in the group's financing arrangements."

Fletcher said it is in the process of reviewing its key B+I projects as it prepares its first-half account. The trading halt will be lifted at the start of trading on Monday, by which time it will have made the results of the review public.

In October, Fletcher chair Ralph Norris apologised to shareholders for the company's mistakes as the company took a further $125 million provision against problematic construction contracts said its B unit would report a full-year loss of $160 million.

Losses on its problematic Convention Centre and Justice Precinct contracts accounted for about two-thirds of the $292 million loss recorded for B in 2017.

Its 2018 full-year earnings guidance, excluding B+I loss, is $680 million to $720 million, suggesting full-year earnings including B+I could be as low as $520 million.

Fletcher dumped chief executive Mark Adamson amid the problems at B+I. His replacement, Ross Taylor, started in November.

Fletcher shares last traded at $7.77 and have tumbled 23 per cent in the past 12 months.

Fletcher Building said it expects further 'material losses' in its building and interiors business. Source: 1 NEWS

Official cash rate remains unchanged at 1.75 per cent

There is good news for mortgage holders as the Reserve Bank has stated there will be no change to official cash rate.

1 NEWS' Corin Dann believes interest rates are more likely to go up than down in the future. Source: 1 NEWS

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The interest rate will remain at 1.75 per cent, with many economists expecting it to remain unchanged until at least next year.

As the Reserve bank warns of rising mortgage rates could see Auckland home buyers spend 70 per cent of income on housing costs.
Source: 1 NEWS

In its statement Acting Governor Grant Spencer noted longer term inflation expectations are well at anchored at 2 percent.

Mr Spencer says Monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period. He says numerous uncertainties remain and the policy may need to adjust accordingly.

The decision comes amid steady wage growth and low inflation in the Kiwi economy.

The Reserve Bank has previously said it doesn't foresee any rate changes until 2020.


Dargaville man's body lies in funeral home for seven months as next of kin cannot be found

The body of a Dargaville man, who died in hospital seven months ago, is still lying in a funeral home after his next of kin could not be found.

Estate planning company Perpetual Guardian are now looking to apply to the High Court to gain control of Thomas Brugman's body so he can have a proper farewell.

Executive Director of Davis Funerals Neil Little told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning his company sees about half a dozen of cases where a body remains unclaimed a year.

"It doesn't happen a lot but it does happen from time to time, as a business for us this situation comes up about six times a year but the circumstances are usually a little different," he said.

Mr Little says there is no law covering who is responsible for locating a person's next of kin if none can be found, but the onus usually falls on the funeral home.

Mr Brugman's case is a rare one Mr Little said, as normally cases where a next of kin cannot be found are ones which have been referred to the coroner and involve police in the location process.

The rest home where Mr Brugman had lived prior to his death, have no legal authority over the body, which is why Perpetual Guardian have stepped in to try and resolve the issue.

The case has prompted the Funeral Directors Association to call for a law change to make the process easier in the future.

A man's body being unclaimed for seven months has prompted the Funeral Directors Association to call for a law change. Source: Breakfast