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Adelaide Brighton cements profit increase

Construction materials maker Adelaide Brighton has built a full year profit increase despite weak home building activity, but the carbon tax is causing concern.

In the 12 months to December 31, net profit rose 3.8 per cent to $154.1 million, from $148.4 million during calendar 2011.

The company on Thursday said mining and resources projects in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory had more than offset weakness in residential and commercial construction.

Weaker residential building activity in Victoria hit cement sales while depressed market conditions in Queensland hurt clinker sales.

Chief executive Mark Chellew said the company had suffered from weak building activity.

"While net profit increased only modestly in 2012, we see this as a good result considering the challenges facing the industry," he said in a statement.

Adelaide Brighton also blamed the carbon tax for taking $3 million from earnings, and increasing energy costs by eight per cent.

Mr Chellew said the carbon tax, environmental regulations and cost pressures were likely to affect the outlook for 2013, but reaffirmed the company's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by using imported materials and alternative fuels.

The company said the high Australian dollar had enabled it to more economically import clinker, cement and blast furnace slag.

Still, the strong currency and mixed local demand had curtailed domestic price growth.

Reliability issues at the firm's Birkenhead plant in South Australia caused clinker production to fall by 80,000 tonnes and hit pre-tax earnings by $6 million, following a longer than anticipated maintenance shutdown in August and September.

Revenue increased by 6.9 per cent to $1.176 billion, from $1.100 billion.

Earnings per share stood at 24.2 cents, up 3.9 per cent from 23.3 cents in 2011.

A fully-franked dividend of 16.5 cents a share was unchanged from the previous year.