Infrastructure boom, furniture bust? Economy roundup

A plethora of profit results today highlight just how widely business conditions vary across different parts of the Australian economy.

A plethora of profit results today highlight just how widely business conditions vary across different parts of the Australian economy.

Construction giant Leighton Holdings saw a 35% rise in 2007-08 profits to $608 million. Public support for infrastructure and the mining boom will continue to drive strong growth in the sector, chief executive Wal King says.

At the other end of the scale, listed NSW-based furniture retailer Nick Scali announced a 24% decline in 2007-08 profits to $6.6 million.

Although the result exceeded a previous profit guidance, managing director Anthony Scali says soft consumer confidence is hurting the business.

“This is a good result in a tight retail environment in which the combination of record fuel prices and higher interest rates are influencing consumer sentiment,” Scali says.

Various other company results today are placed somewhere in between the poles presented by the Leighton and Nick Scali.

Payphone reverse call company Reverse Corp announced a very slight rise in net profits to $20.8 million for 2007-08. Printing Group PMP reported a 7.6% rise in normalised net profit to $52.3 million and dentistry business 1300Smiles lifted its net profit from $1.8 million to $2.35 million thanks to several acquisitions.

On the markets today, the S&P/ASX200 is down 0.3% on yesterday’s close to 4967.8 at 12.15pm and the Australian dollar is trading at US86.57c.

 

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