In the past week, Fletcher Building chief executive Ross Taylor had to move house - and not because he wanted to.

Taylor, in the job at Penrose HQ for the past seven months, said it wasn't his choice.

"I had to move last week because the house was sold."

He is now in new rental accommodation.


Speaking after a half-day investor presentation from Sydney, the boss of the country's largest construction business is now keener than ever to buy his own home and he wants to stay in Parnell.

"I'm looking at buying there because I like that area. It's inner city and logical for friends and family," said the Australian who today announced a major overhaul of the multi-billion dollar business, leaving Europe, Asia and North America and trading only in Australia and New Zealand.

The new five-year strategy was a four-pronged plan, he stressed.

"First we will focus on our core businesses and defend our positions," he said, citing the new $262 million Winston Wallboards Auckland plant, probably at Drury as well as a $15m new panelisation plant to be developed in Auckland and take annual residential construction to above 1000 places.

"Second, we've got to get construction fixed and position and grow that particularly in infrastructure" he said, referring to finishing large jobs like the NZICC and Commercial Bay.

Third, "we need to get Australia performing well," he said, citing low 4 per cent margins compared to 10 to 11 per cent New Zealand margins.

Fourth, Fletcher is selling Formica and the Roof Tile Group and that meant a focus solely on Australia and New Zealand, he said.

"It's been an intense seven months but it's good to get to this point. This is a gear change now," he said.