James Hardie Industries Plc: TWO special dividends and a buyback

Building materials manufacturer James Hardie Industries Plc (ASX: JHX) will pay shareholders not one but TWO special dividends alongside a strong second-half dividend, after more than doubling its full-year net profit.

Despite revenue rising just 13% to US$1,494 million, net profit doubled from $45.5 million to $99.5 million for the twelve months to end of March 2014. James Hardie also announced two special dividends to go with the second half dividend of 32 US cents. The first special dividend of 20 US cents will be paid on August 8, while a 28 US cent (125 year anniversary) special dividend will be paid to shareholders on May 30. All three dividends are unfranked.

In another move that will please shareholders, James Hardie has also announced a share buyback of up to 22.2 million shares, after buying back 2.6 million shares over the previous year.

A recovering US housing construction market and strong growth in Europe have deliver a 19% increase in sales, including 22% in the fourth quarter. In the US, single family housing starts rose 9% above the previous year.

Locally, net sales increased, as approvals for detached houses climbed 16% in the twelve months ended March 31, 2014. But the outlook appears mixed.

Yesterday, cement and lime producer Adelaide Brighton Ltd (ASX: ABC) gave a gloomy outlook, with 2014 net profit expected to be in line with 2013’s $151 million. Although it must be said that the company has less exposure to the recovering East coast housing market and more exposure to Western Australia’s resources sector. Investors should probably not read much into that for fellow building materials companies Boral Limited (ASX: BLD) and CSR Limited (ASX: CSR), but for a better bet, here’s an idea we think you’ll like…

The full scoop on our #1 ASX pick - yours FREE

It's not too late! The Motley Fool has issued a firm "BUY" rating on this small but ultra promising ASX company... and you can get the name and code FREE right now. Click here for your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014."

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.