UPDATE 1-Australia's Boral to sell N.American business, exit global brick operations

(Adds details on sale, comment and background)

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Boral Ltd said on Friday it would sell its North America-based Meridian Brick business to Austrian brick manufacturer Wienerberger for $250 million and exit from brick operations as the pandemic batters construction markets.

Top Australian building materials maker Boral said it expects to report a pre-tax accounting profit of about A$10 million ($7.59 million) on the divestment of its North American business, and has shifted focus to its domestic operations, which generates about half its profit.

Wienerberger was not immediately reachable for a comment.

Boral owns 50% of Meridian Brick, while the rest is managed by U.S.-based Lone Star.

“Since forming the bricks joint venture in the U.S. with Lone Star in 2016, the plan was to ultimately prepare the business for sale,” Chief Executive Officer Zlatko Todorcevski said in a statement.

For fiscal year 2020, the company marked a non-cash impairment charge of A$1.35 billion, of which A$1.22 billion was related to assets within Boral North America and its investment in the Meridian Brick joint venture.

In October, Boral divested its plasterboard business and said it was considering exiting the United States.

$1 = 1.3179 Australian dollars Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips