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Fletcher Building re-focuses on New Zealand

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Tuesday 10th October 2000

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E-commerce and more research and development activities in New Zealand are on the cards for Fletcher Building, which will stand alone as a separate public listed entity following the Fletcher Challenge restructuring.

While Fletchers says expressions of interest were received for the whole of the Building division from financial buyers, chairman Rod Deane says their view of value reflected the fact that they were unable to bring any significant industry synergies to a potential acquisition.

"While the restructuring process had generated significant trade buyer interest in the Building division assets, it was clear that the narrow single-focus operations of the major global building industry players did not fit well with the portfolio nature of Building's current operations."

Mr Deane says after full analysis the board's clear view is that the value which can be achieved by operating Fletcher Building as a stand-alone company, with the implementation of a new performance focus and strategic direction, far exceeds that offered by interested industry and financial buyers.

The company says one area Building will focus on for growth is realigning its business portfolio, eventually exiting under-performing and non-core assets, including its current activities in India and South America.

It will also undertake an aggressive cost/operational programme, and will look at more "new-growth" opportunities within the building industry in New Zealand, such as more e-commerce initiatives and extending existing research and development activities into composite building materials.

The changes will take place under a new boss, former Paper division CEO Alexander Töldte. Building's current CEO is to head the Forests division.

The company has declared a final dividend of eight cents per share, to be paid on 9 November to shareholders of record on 27 October 2000.

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