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Money Boral eyes trillion-dollar Trump infrastructure plan

23:20  13 february  2018
23:20  13 february  2018 Source:   theage.com.au

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Building materials supplier Boral and toll-road giant Transurban are among The ASX-listed Boral , which has a strong North American business, dramatically increased its exposure to the US market last year when it bought out the Utah-based Headwaters, one of the country's leading producers of fly ash.

US President Donald Trump has promised to propose plans for a one trillion - dollar infrastructure programme that would renew the country's roads, bridges

Boral has lifted its first-half profit by 13 per cent.© Jack Atley Boral has lifted its first-half profit by 13 per cent.

Australian building materials giant Boral says it is primed to benefit from Donald Trump's $US1.5 trillion plan to upgrade America's roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and other ageing infrastructure.

The ASX-listed Boral, which has a strong North American business, dramatically increased its exposure to the US market last year when it sealed a deal worth $US2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) to buy the Utah-based Headwaters, one of the country's leading producers of fly ash.

Boral chief executive Mike Kane on Tuesday said the acquisition would ensure Boral could take advantage of a looming "infrastructure boom", as Mr Trump presses ahead with a promise to spend $US200 billion in federal funding over the decade.

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His infrastructure plan is light on federal dollars and heavy on incentives for state and local spending. By BRIANNA GURCIULLO. 02/11/2018 05 since Friday to craft an addendum to its fiscal year 2019 budget proposal that will tell legislators just how the president would like to see those dollars spent.

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The Trump administration's investment is intended to spur an additional $US1.3 trillion in spending from cities, states and private companies.

"It's a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that includes a kick-start of $200 billion," Mr Kane said.

"The only criticism coming from the other side of the House is that $200 billion is not enough of a contribution."

Mr Kane said he was "indifferent" to the political debate over whether the investment was too small to drive the anticipated level of private financing, but said, "If the government wants to spend a lot more to kick-start infrastructure, I'd have to say I'm a supporter of that".

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Chao said the administration plans to offer incentives for public-private partnerships rather than simply fund improvements. The Trump budget would also eliminate the Obama administration's "TIGER" grant program, saving 9 million.

Related: Trump 's .5 trillion infrastructure plan rests on some strong assumptions. But that discussion just got a lot harder following the passage of a tax plan that is expected to expand the deficit by over a trillion dollars over ten years.

US President Donald Trump has promised to spend $US200 billion in federal funding over the decade.© Bloomberg US President Donald Trump has promised to spend $US200 billion in federal funding over the decade. The Headwaters acquisition has expanded five-fold Boral's production of fly ash - a byproduct of burning pulverised coal that is commonly used as a partial replacement for cement - and doubled the size of its US roofing and manufactured stone divisions.

Delivering the company's half-year results on Tuesday, Mr Kane announced Boral's net profit had risen 13 per cent, to $173 million in the six months to December, benefiting from the Headwaters acquisition and strong growth in its Australian operations.

Sales revenue for the six-month period soared 40 per cent to $2.9 billion, which was also attributed to the Headwaters acquisition and revenue growth in Australia.

Earning and revenue in Boral's Australia division increased in the six months to December due to strong growth in infrastructure and non-residential activity.

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Without his infrastructure plan , it’s not clear what would differentiate Trump ’s economic agenda from the same slate of Republican policy proposals that have exacerbated the income gap in years past.

Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment As Dean further says, "all of this infrastructure talk in Washington is going to have little impact on total U.S. infrastructure growth in 2018."

"These strong results confirm that our transformation strategy is on track," Mr Kane said.

"The Headwaters acquisition has helped transform Boral into a construction materials and building products group with a greater geographic reach and improved prospects for growth."

Simon Thackray, an analyst with investment bank Citi, said savings targets in the US Boral's Australian profit margins of 16.3 per cent came in slightly below forecasts of 16.5 per cent.

Mr Kane said the company anticipates "continued growth across all businesses" in 2018.

Boral declared an interim dividend of 12.5 cent per share, up from 12 cents per share declared in the year-ago period.

Boral's share price dropped 3 per cent to $7.09 in early trading on Tuesday, but has since bounced back to $7.36.

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