The building downturn is forcing Laminex Group, one of Fletcher Building's key businesses, to cut its New Zealand workforce.

Philip King, investor relations general manager, said the business had lost 75 people here since June, 2010.

"We've already seen a reduction in the Laminex workforce in New Zealand over the past two years as a result of the decline in volumes. Employee numbers have dropped from 397 as at June 2010 to 322 today," King said.

But he indicated a wider-scale examination of the group's Australasian fortunes and employment needs.


"We have a review under way across Laminex in both Australia and New Zealand looking at the cost base and performance of this business, but at this stage we cannot confirm any specific actions that might be required."

Kar Yue Yeo and Andrew Peros of First NZ Capital said residential building consents continued to show signs that the sector has bottomed at levels in line with housing demand generated by annual net population birthrate before contribution from net migration and replacement of existing stock.

They found work put in place was close to reaching a bottom, consents issued had reached a trough and sales volume, pricing and inventory level suggested further improvement in activity.

In particular, the Auckland housing market appeared to be facing a shortage of supply.

Laminex is headed by Mark Adamson, chief executive of laminates and panels.

He joined the Formica Group in 1998 as chief financial officer of the European division.

Laminex markets, distributes and manufactures premium decorative surfaces in Australia and New Zealand.

The group has a portfolio of brands sold as Laminex, Formica, Melteca, Lakepine MDF, superfine and trade essentials particle board.


The group also distributes CaesarStone, Corian and a large range of hardware.

Laminex employs people at its factories as well in the national distribution network where it had a large sales force which provides merchandising and product support.

Fletcher Building announces its interim result next Wednesday.