Belfast Telegraph

Building materials giant CRH on track for £3.6bn earnings

Boss: Albert Manifold
Boss: Albert Manifold

By John Mulligan

Sharesin the Republic's building materials giant CRH, which employs around 1,400 people here, have risen after a trading update showed strong momentum in its business.

In its third quarter update it told investors that it's on track to deliver earnings of at least €4.15bn (£3.6bn), which compares to €3.37bn (£2.9bn) in 2018.

The company, which is led by Albert Manifold, owns Northstone (NI), which trades as Farrans, Northstone Materials and Cubis Industries.

Shares in CRH, the Republic's biggest company, were 2.1% higher in the early afternoon, giving it a €27.5bn (£23.6bn) market capitalisation.

In the nine months to the end of September its revenue was 4% higher on a like-for-like basis at €21.8bn (£18.7bn), while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was 7% higher at €3.2bn (£2.7bn) on a like-for-like basis.

CRH said that its operations in the US and Europe performed well in the third quarter.

"Third quarter trading in our Americas Materials division benefited from more favourable weather conditions than experienced in the first half of the year," it said.

"We also experienced a continuation of positive trends in both Europe Materials and building products."

In the United States it said its materials operation had seen a 4% lift in sales in the first nine months of 2019 "against a backdrop of solid underlying demand, healthy market fundamentals and pricing progress in all product lines".

In its key eastern and western European markets, CRH said that its materials business saw good underlying activity in the first nine months of the year, with like-for-like sales up 6% in the period "aided by good pricing momentum and solid sales growth".

It added that its UK continued to see market disruption as a result of Brexit.

So far this year CRH's building products division has completed 15 bolt-on acquisitions at a cost of €420m (£360m).

One of its largest acquisitions was the purchase this month of US-based Torrent Resource for €100m.

The group's Americas Materials division has completed 20 bolt-on deals in 2019 at a cost of about €200m (£172m). Its Europe Materials unit has completed seven deals worth a total of €35m (£30m).

Earlier this year Northstone reported turnover of £374.5m in 2018, and after-tax profits of £5.2m.

Belfast Telegraph

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