James Hardie raises 2021 profit forecast on high demand for renovation

Adds details on markets, 2021 forecast

Oct 14 (Reuters)Australian building materials supplier James Hardie Industries JHX.AX on Wednesday raised its full-year profit forecast and said it expected to post record second-quarter results, boosted by solid demand for its services across markets.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic related shutdowns hammered sales earlier in the year, there has been a recovery in Asia Pacific and European markets.

James Hardie, the world’s biggest fibre cement maker, said the all-time high quarterly sales were “made possible by having all three operating regions deliver growth above market.”

In August, it said sales in North America, one of its biggest markets, were buyoed by homeowners turning to renovation amid the pandemic.

The company increased its fiscal 2021 forecast for underlying net operating profit after tax (NOPAT) to between $380 million and $420 million, from an earlier projection of $330 million and $390 million.

It will report its second quarter results on Nov. 10.

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Shinjini Ganguli)

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Pensacola area contractors warn of scams, see high demand

Madison Arnold, Pensacola News Journal
Published 6:00 a.m. CT Sept. 25, 2020 | Updated 3:52 p.m. CT Sept. 25, 2020

More than a week after Hurricane Sally made landfall, Shirley Hopkins has already had to re-tack the blue tarp to the roof of her East Yonge Street home so Thursday morning’s rain wouldn’t seep in like it did last week.

“Every so often you have to go back and add some more of those roofing nails because the wind gets under the tarp and it blows the tarp up and with all the rain coming in, you absolutely have to have it down all the time because it’s going to cause the leaks that are in your house to become worse,” Hopkins said. “We’re just hoping that it’s going to hold out for a few days.”

Hopkins lost about two-thirds of her roof, which caused rain water to drip into her home, through the ceiling and onto her carpet. Now she’s worried about mold setting in and she still can’t connect with any roofers to inspect her home.

“Every time we see a sign (for a roofer), we write it down and we call. And they say ‘OK, we’re going to get back with you,'” Hopkins said. “We’ve had some trouble getting people really to come out or return calls.”


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Roofers and contractors around the Pensacola area are being inundated with calls from residents who have wind, water and tree damage to their homes and property following the storm. That may leave residents like Hopkins who can’t get connected with roofers or contractors vulnerable to scams, shoddy work or unlicensed companies.

“I know that time is critical and I think people have that sense of urgency and they want to get back

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4 Stocks to Tap Rising Demand in Retail Discount Stores Space

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought about a major shift in consumers’ buying behavior and spending pattern. With the pandemic taking a toll on employment and household income, consumers are left with no option but to curtail spending. Definitely, measures undertaken to support households and the resumption of economic activities provided some relief but consumers’ hunt for better bargains continue.

Under the current circumstances, people have been showing a preference for discount stores for essentials and other household needs. A differentiated product range resonates well with customers’ spending habits. No wonder, the strategy to sell products at discounted prices has helped industry players expand customer base amid the pandemic.

That said, industry participants have been focusing on deepening engagements with consumers, expanding merchandise assortments, and enhancing digital and data analytics capabilities. They have been making strategic investments to provide consumers fast, convenient and safe shopping experience, be it offline or online.

Keeping in mind consumers’ product preferences and growing inclination toward online shopping, thanks to social distancing and greater stay at-home trends, discount players have been replenishing shelves with in-demand merchandise, and expanding delivery options — curbside pickup or ship-to-home orders — and contactless payment solutions. The companies have also been investing in renovation, improved checkouts and mobile point-of-sale capabilities to keep stores relevant.

It comes as no surprise that discount retailers have succeeded in creating a niche in the retail space. Here we have highlighted four discount retailers that have been gaining from coronavirus-led spike in demand.

4 Prominent Players

Target Corporation TGT: This general merchandise retailer has been making investments to enhance omni-channel capacities, come up with new brands, and remodel or refurbish stores to cater to consumer demand and behavior in the new normal. Markedly, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company witnessed sturdy market-share gains in all

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U.K. Demand for Homes Jumps, Though London is Muted

Demand for new homes across the U.K. jumped in the third quarter of 2020, powered largely by stamp duty savings, but the country’s capital city of London failed to capture the hearts of potential buyers, according to a report Monday from estate agent comparison site

At 51%, current levels of buyer demand are at their highest point since early 2019 and are up 9% on the same time last year and 8% on the last quarter.

The metric is measured as the proportion of stock listed as sold, subject to contract or under offer, as a percentage of all stock listed for sale, according to the report.

“The meteoric uplift in U.K. homebuyer demand in the third quarter of this year demonstrates a market that has well and truly bounced back from pandemic paralysis,” Colby Short, founder and CEO of, said in the report.

“An 8.5% quarterly increase in buyer demand is phenomenal when you consider that the market has remained largely static since the start of 2019,” he added.

The stamp duty holiday, announced in July and set to run until the end of March 2021, is largely considered to be the catalyst and should continue to underpin demand until at least the end of the year, according to the report.

The U.K.’s more affordable areas ranked as the most in-demand during the third quarter. Scotland’s Falkirk and Glasgow came out on top, with levels of demand at 73% and 68%, respectively.

The two were followed by Sale, in Greater Manchester, a town that saw demand reach 64% in the third quarter, and nearby Wigan, where demand stood at 63%.

London, meanwhile, ranked as one of the coolest spots for buyer demand at 35%, a 3.6% increase from the previous quarter and up 2.3% from the same

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Jharia residents demand renovation of historic pond

Discharge of sewage and lack of desiltation prove bane for waterbody

Dhanbad municipal commissioner Satyendra Kumar (in white shirt) and other officials during an inspection of the pond at Jharia, Dhanbad, on Friday.

More than 50 residents of Jharia on Friday walked in a protest march and shouted slogans demanding the renovation of the historic Raja Talab which has fallen into disrepair. 

The protesters, led by former councillor Anup Sao and NGO Institution for National Amity founder Pinaki Roy, raised slogans against the Dhanbad Municipal Corporation and district administration and demanded a probe into the allegations of corruption in the renovation of the pond.

Established by a former ruler, Durga Prasad Singh, on 8.26 acres, the pond was once the centre of all religious activity in Jharia, including the celebration of Chhath Puja and Durga Puja and the performance of last rites. The pond, however, has become polluted due to a host of reasons, including the discharge of sewage and washing of clothes, dishes and domestic animals by residents of nearby areas. 

A contract worth Rs 25 lakh for the beautification of the pond, including installation of streetlights, desilting, construction of roads all around the waterbody and barricading it, was awarded to Sujit Construction in 2010, but the company abandoned work in the middle of 2011 as the JCB machine engaged in desilting could not operate due to the discharge of sewage. The company was paid Rs 6 lakh only due to the non-completion of work and also blacklisted by the Dhanbad Municipal Corporation.

A separate contract was awarded to another company in 2011 for the construction of a drain all around the pond to prevent the discharge of sewage, which was completed on time.

The pond, however, remained polluted due to a lack of desilting.

“Desilting of the pond was carried out by the Dhanbad Municipal Corporation at a cost of around Rs 56 lakh during 2016, which led to an

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