BOOM times don’t always result in booming profits. Just ask Brickworks Ltd, the east coast owner of the Austral, Bristile and Auswest Timbers brands, which have revealed eroded margins in the first half of the financial year. In releasing its half-year results last week, Brickworks also noted building conditions in Western Australia had already peaked, but said a substantial pipeline of work would likely mask any reduction for some time. The company’s net profit after tax in the six months to January 2007 was $36.7 million, down 20.4 per cent on the $46.1 million recorded in the corresponding period last financial year. Brickworks said Austral Bricks recorded overall margin gains in all major markets except WA, where lower margins, imported product and higher input costs driven by the resources boom had eroded last year’s historically high margins.