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Fleetwood posts profit

Shares in East Perth-based portable accommodation builder Fleetwood Corporation Ltd dropped almost 1 per cent after the company recorded an 8 per cent fall in half year operating profit after tax. At market close, the share price for Fleetwood had fallen six cents to $6.88. The company’s operating profit after tax was $10.2 million, down from $11.1 million in the previous corresponding period. Revenue for the period was down 10 per cent to $123.9 million, while EBITDA for the period marginally increased to $19.1 million. The company said a fully franked interim dividend of eight cents per share will be paid on 28 April 2006. The company said the availability of labour still offered challenges in the future. Demand for caravans has strengthened since December with order banks being at levels higher than the same time last year. Robert McKinnon has recently taken over the manufacturing accommodation division of the business. Mr McKinnon was previously managing director of Western Australian ship builder, Austral. In the recreational vehicles division, Coromal and Windsor both experienced the above mentioned labour difficulties during the period Productivity was negatively impacted while new employees were recruited and trained and as a result production volumes for the period were lower than forecast. Consolidation of WA manufacturing operations to a single location is due to be completed by April 30, 2006, with minimal impact on second half earnings.

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