Why the James Hardie Industries plc share price hit a record high today

Credit: John St John

Shares in US-based buildings materials business James Hardie Industries plc (ASX: JHX) soared 6.2% to a record high of $20.14 this afternoon after the group revealed a strong set of results for the quarter ending March 31 2016.

For the full year to March 31 2016 the business posted an adjusted net operating profit of US$242.9 million on sales of US$1.7 billion. The adjusted profit and sales were up 10% and 4% over the prior corresponding year in a decent result reflecting a rebounding US economy.

The company’s CEO said the stronger sales across Europe and the US were mainly driven by higher volumes, while announcing a second half dividend of US29 cents per share. Over the full year the company effectively returned a total of US$268.8 million in shareholder capital via dividends and a share buyback. It also announced another US$100 million share buyback program today through to May 2017. This is probably a leading factor behind today’s share price rise.

James Hardie is heavily involved in the provision of the fiber cement required for residential housing construction and forecast moderate growth in the new start US housing market through the year to May 2017. It expects earnings in its fiber cement business to grow moderately, with margins in the region of 20%-25% assuming a steady exchange rate and input cost trends. The Australia and New Zealand businesses are also expected to deliver improved results over the year ahead.

The group logged US 55 cents in earnings per share over the year, which places it on an FX-adjusted trailing price to earnings ratio in the region of 26.

It also paid out US 38 cents per share in dividends over the year, which places it on an FX-adjusted trailing yield in the region of 2.58%. For local investors it retains heavy exposure to a strengthening US economy and the long-term resilience of property markets.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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