Belfast Telegraph

Building giant CRH snaps up concrete depot in Co Wexford

By Gavin McLoughlin

The parent company of building materials supplier Northstone in Dunmurry has picked up assets from a competitor as its business at home improves.

The move by Irish construction giant CRH was announced in results posted earlier this week but specifics relating to the deal were not disclosed.

However, it's understood the deal relates to CRH's purchase of a ready-mix concrete depot outside Wexford town.

Chief executive Albert Manifold said "momentum is good" in the company's Irish business as activity increases in the construction sector.

"Construction in Ireland has been on the up off a low base," he said.

"I think after a number of years of slowdown in construction both in residential and non-residential, and also in terms of infrastructure spend, there's bound to be a catch-up. Broadly speaking the business has performed well."

Mr Manifold was speaking after the company posted record full-year ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of €3.3bn (£3bn).

He said the company did not regret its investment in the Philippines, where sales were down on the prior year. CRH said this was fuelled in part by aggressive competitor pricing.

"Emerging markets are more volatile than developed markets and one has to be cautious as to how you invest in those businesses. At the same time, running a global business in CRH, you've got to invest for both the short-term and indeed the longer term," Mr Manifold said.

"We believe there is solid underlying profitable growth going forward. The fundamentals of construction are good there. There's a growing population, significant needs."

Manifold said the collapse of UK-based Carillion was "a big shock to everybody" but added: "We didn't have any exposure there.

"Let's just say that while it was a big shock when it actually happened, it was known they had some challenging times and people were monitoring their exposure to them. Certainly we were.

"But there was no significant knock-on effect to us and certainly now we don't see any either." Mr Manifold said there are "many years" left in the firm's acquisition strategy.

Belfast Telegraph

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