Boral Limited (BLD.AX) has reported a strong set of results thanks to higher volumes and a restructuring program which has realigned the cost base.
Boral reports its results under four divisions and each business delivered improved operating results. The Construction Materials & Cement division, which is Boral's largest division, grew earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by 6%. The Building Products division swung from a loss in the previous corresponding period (pcp) to a small profit. The Boral Gypsum division boosted EBIT by 30% and the Boral USA division reduced its losses as volumes began to pick up.
Sales revenue increased 4% to $2.87 billion, net profit after tax (NPAT) excluding significant items jumped 73% to $90 million and earnings per share gained 71% to 11.6 cents per share (cps).
A fully franked interim dividend of 7 cps was declared – a rise of 40% on the pcp. Shareholders will receive the payment on 24 March.
Management stated that it expects to see continued improvement in each of the four operating divisions, however the earnings would be skewed to the first half. No specific guidance figures for the full year were provided.
According to analyst consensus estimates provided by Morningstar, Boral is forecast to earn 19.3 cps for financial year (FY) 2014. This forecast would appear in line with management's comments regarding the first-half skew. With the shares rallying to close near a 3-year high at $5.45 on the day of the results announcement, the stock is trading on a forward price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of 28. This drops to a PE of 18.7 based on FY 2015 forecasts.
Compared with its peers Adelaide Brighton Ltd. (ABC.AX), Brickworks Limited (BKW.AX) and CSR Limited (CSR.AX), Boral's share price has significantly lagged over the past 12 months. The sound set of results and subsequent spike in share price suggests the market is awakening to this fact, however given industry momentum for further volume growth, the share price could still have further to run.
The top ASX pick you've never heard of...
Top Motley Fool analysts just identified their #1 ASX pick for 2014, a small-cap stock that could be poised for big gains (and offers a fat, fully franked dividend!). Discover all the details now, including the name and code, in this FREE investment report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014."
Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur owns shares in CSR Ltd.
The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.