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

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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.

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

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.

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