Fletcher Building

Fletcher Building

2007 ranking: 7

Senior IS executive: Paul Knight, chief information officer

Reports to: Chief financial officer

Size of IS shop: 295

PCs: 5657

Mobile PCs: 2152

Terminals: 1905

Hand-held devices: 332

Total screens: 10,046

Industry: Manufacturing

PC environment: Windows XP, Citrix, Dell

Server environment: OS4000; Unix; Windows 2003, 2000; Linux; Dell;


DBMS: SQL, Oracle, Progress

Address: 810 Great South Road, Penrose, Auckland


Key IS projects this year: Oracle e-business suite; virtualisation; unifi ed

communications; business continuity planning.

FLETCHER BUILDING IS Australasia’s largest building and construction

materials supplier, by market capitalisation, with leading market

positions in the United States and Europe. Fletcher Building employs

more than 20,000 people and runs more than 35 businesses at more

than 500 sites, with varied operations around the world.

With a range of market leadership positions in five divisions — building

products, distribution, infrastructure, laminates and panels and

steel — and its diverse geographical and industry base, Fletcher Building

aims to produce reliable earnings over the long-term, irrespective of

economic cycles.

While Fletcher Building operates in cyclical markets it has followed a

strategy to improve the reliability of its earnings, maintain and improve

its internal capabilities, while also taking up any external acquisition

opportunities that meet its criteria.

CIO Paul Knight says it will continue to assess opportunities outside

the Australasian markets in products and technologies that are well


Fletcher made its last acquisition, the US$700 million ($776 million)

purchase of American laminates company Formica in 2007, from

private equity vendors. More deals are clearly on the horizon according

to the Australian Financial Review.

Chief executive Jonathan Ling expects the company to continue

making acquisitions worth 20 per cent of its total capitalisation every two years.

“Our real intention is to bed down Formica before the next one comes along,

but sometimes you can’t plan things exactly as you want them,” he told AFR, a sister

publication of CIO New Zealand.

Ling said diversification into the infrastructure and commercial building

sectors had helped Fletcher, while only about 5 per cent of revenue

came from the United States.

“We’ve been hammered a bit unduly because of perceived exposure

to the US,” he says, referring to the near 20 per cent fall in Fletcher’s

shares since the start of the year.

AFR has reported Fletcher has unused debt facilities of NZ$500

million and says Australia is its main target for acquisitions — although

the company also has plans to expand its Formica-Laminex operations

overseas. “In Australia and New Zealand there’s a general trend

towards consolidation, but I don’t think there is going to be a massive

raft of activity,” says Ling.

Key IS projects in the coming 12 months include virtualisation, unified

communications and business continuity planning.

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