By Ross Kelly
SYDNEY--James Hardie Industries PLC , one of the biggest makers of cladding for U.S. homes, said Monday it more than doubled first-quarter earnings and may continue to pay out larger-than-usual dividends.
James Hardie is benefiting from a gradual, yet shaky recovery in the U.S. housing market. Its net profit for the three months to June 30 jumped to US$142.2 million, from US$68.5 million a year earlier.
The company had already declared a special dividend for the previous financial year and is buying back some its own shares. Further dividend payments above those outlined in its dividend policy will be considered subject to market conditions, it said.
Underlying first-quarter profit--which strips out compensation payments to asbestos victims and tax adjustments--grew by 19% to US$52.0 million.
The company said it expects its underlying profit for the full year to fall within analysts forecasts ranging from US$165 million and US$194 million.
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