Building products group CSR indicated earlier this month that the existing housing construction backlog, much of which stems from the Morrison government’s HomeBuilder program to spur the economy in the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, will ensure strong demand through to calendar 2023.
CSR manufactures Gyprock gypsum boards, PGH bricks, Monier ceilings, Hebel lightweight building blocks and Bradford insulation, these products are mainly used in the later stages of building a new home. The detached housing pipeline remains 50 per cent higher than historical averages, said Julie Coates, chief corporate social responsibility officer, on November 4.
The highest annual profit
BlueScope’s North Star steel plant in Ohio has already been through its peak profitability period in this steel cycle. Northstar’s business is expected to report a result in the December half, Vasella said, accounting for about a third of the profits generated in the second half of 2021 to 2222.
The North Star Mill, which makes steel for white goods manufacturers, the auto industry and the agricultural sector, in 2021-2222 raised full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to $1.9 billion from $680 million a year earlier and was pivotal to BlueScope’s highest profit. Annual in its 20 years of history as a stand-alone company.
But on a brighter note, BlueScope’s coated products business in North America will be about double the result delivered in the just-ended June half.
Vasella reiterated that EBIT for the December half is likely to be in the $800 million to $900 million range. BlueScope made that forecast in mid-August because it factored in slowing demand. He said the ASEAN business, which operates in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, is likely to post a small loss in the first half.
Chairman John Bevan reiterated to shareholders on Tuesday that the technology is not yet in place for Port Kembla Steelworks in New South Wales to transition to green steelmaking.
“The technology is not ready yet,” Bevan said.
He also said that BlueScope was playing a vital role in making some of the infrastructure needed to transition to renewable energy.
“You can’t put a windmill without steel,” he said. BlueScope is part of an assessment of a potential over $1 billion relocation of one of Port Kembla’s blast furnaces and consistently says a technical breakthrough is needed to be able to turn Port Kembla into an “eco-friendly” steel product.
In the run-up to the annual meeting, UBS analyst Lee Bauer said there was still value on a 12-month basis for BlueScope investors despite some concerns about a quieter macroeconomic backdrop, with Colorbond continuing to gain market share.