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Current as of 24/09/14 06:20AM NZST

Christchurch earthquake: Industrial giants take stock of task ahead

By Anne Gibson

Two of New Zealand's largest industrial companies are examining the effects of the earthquake disaster on their businesses.

Fletcher Building executives have met at Penrose and staff at Christchurch-headquartered civil contractor Fulton Hogan met at their Harewood base.

Fulton Hogan supplies products and services for roads, quarrying, civil contracting, rail, infrastructure maintenance and land development sectors and has 5500 staff.

Fulton Hogan chief executive Bill Perry said his firm had more than 100 staff on emergency traffic management alone but teams were working on roading repairs and examining damaged buildings.

"A lot of what we're doing is with inspection teams, documenting what the issues are and it's got to be an engineering solution," he said.

Crews from Ashburton had arrived and Fulton Hogan could marshall staff and subcontractors from elsewhere in New Zealand, Perry said.

The $4.7 billion Fletcher, New Zealand's biggest integrated building manufacturer and supplier, supplies infrastructure, concrete blocks, masonry, wallboard, structural and roofing steel, cement, concrete, and other materials.

Fletcher, which on Monday pledged $1 million relief, also has three Christchurch PlaceMakers stores and a new state-of-the-art 3250sq m frame and truss manufacturing plant opened only two years ago.

Fletcher chief executive Jonathan Ling said on Monday that teams had met during the weekend and the first priority was the welfare of more than 1000 staff and their families.

"Thankfully, none of them have been hurt.

"The second thing is that we don't have any sites that are damaged, including the frame and truss business and PlaceMakers. Riccarton PlaceMakers is open this morning with no damage at all. Cranford St PlaceMakers had some racking which fell and they are just checking the building for structural damage. Our other PlaceMakers at Antigua St is fine," Ling said.

Fletcher has an insulation factory, plasterboard business, two Firth plants which supply large volumes of ready-mix cement, paving, wall products and masonry, a Humes Pipeline Systems plant at Hornby and a Laminex plant, all in Christchurch.

"We are a significant employer in Christchurch and we are providing our support to employees through divisional business unit managers to help people.

"Most of our businesses are operational today," Ling said.

Canterbury Concrete, sporting the distinctive red and black colours of the province, has a base at Harewood and is part of Firth.

Ling rejected an immediate financial boost, comparing the earthquake to the Victorian bush fires where it took months for damage to be assessed, insurance claims lodged and the rebuilding to begin.

"Look at the World Trade Centre site in New York - still nothing there, 10 years later. In time, there's no doubt our materials will be used to restore Christchurch," Ling said.

Christchurch construction might fill a looming national gap in work next year, he said "possibly for some of the infrastructure, it's hard to know until damage has been assessed".

Fletcher shares closed up 1c at $8.15, having jumped 39c, or 5 per cent, on Monday.

Hugh Pavletich, a Christchurch developer, rejected the notion of a financial bonanza.

CHRISTCHURCH SPOTLIGHT

FLETCHER BUILDING:
* PlaceMakers Riccarton, Cranford St, Antigua St
* Firth concrete, cement and masonry plants
* Canterbury Concrete, based at Harewood
* Wallboard and insulation plants
* New frame + truss manufacturing plant
* Fletcher Easysteel structural steel, Middleton
* Dimond Steel Roofing, Hornby

FULTON HOGAN:
* Road construction
* Bridges and structures
* Water infrastructure
* Industrial developments
* Ports and airports
* Piling
* Land development

- NZ Herald

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