Homes part of Fletcher future

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 20/08/2014

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Christchurch rebuild projects will continue to feed into Fletcher Building's revenue stream for at least the next 10 years.

Part of that will be Fletcher's entry into the residential building sector in Christchurch, though the company is much more active in home construction in Auckland subdivisions.

None of an initial 40 or so "spec" homes being built in Christchurch was finished yet but Fletcher would potentially purchase further land to build on in the city, outgoing Fletcher chairman Ralph Waters said yesterday.

"We've got way more commercial building work in Christchurch than we ever would have previously had. [Also] we didn't build homes down here before, [now] we're in the process of building our first homes in many, many years in Christchurch," Waters said.

The spec home builds would give the firm the opportunity to see how the system worked. "If that's successful and there's demand we'll continue on."

The listed construction giant is due to report a "very good" result today according to Waters and fellow director Sir Ralph Norris, who will take on the chairmanship after Fletcher's annual meeting in October.

Fletchers announced yesterday the board had voted Norris the new chairman.

How long the commercial rebuild would stretch out depended on the size of Christchurch's economic recovery, they said.

"You'll still be building it in 10 years. [The timeframe] will depend on how much the city grows or doesn't grow, on finances, available resources, need for the buildings - it's just something that is going to continue on," Waters said.

While Waters will retire from Fletcher's board, he remains chairman of Woolworths.

Norris retired as managing director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in November 2011. He retains a property in Sydney and now spends three-quarters of his time in New Zealand.

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