CRH confirms profits

03 March 2009

Building materials Group, CRH reported 2008 sales of € 20,8 billion, a -0,5% drop on the € 20,9 billion recorded for 2007. In line with January's expectations, the Group recorded 2008 pre-tax profits of € 1,6 billion, down -14% on the € 1,9 billion reported a year earlier.

Pre-tax profit from the Group's European divisions fell -5% to € 1 billion, down from € 1,1 billion in 2007. Pre-tax profit for the Americas division fell -19% from € 980 million in 2007 to € 792 million, although this was partially attributable to weaker dollar-Euro exchange rates.

The Group's European materials division recorded sales for 2008 of € 3,69 billion, a +1% increase on the € 3,65 billion reported a year earlier.

"After a positive first half when advances in Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Ukraine, more than compensated for declines in Ireland and Spain, the deteriorating global economic environment had an impact on the second half," said Myles Lee, Group chief executive.

Sales of concrete, clay and building products in the European division grew from € 3,62 billion in 2007 to € 3,68 billion last year, a +2% increase.

Sales for the Group's European distribution division increased +11% from € 3,4 billion in 2007 to € 3,8 billion in 2008.

In the Americas, sales of materials fell to € 5 billion, down -8% on the € 5,4 billion reported for 2007.

"Americas materials had a very challenging year with unprecedented increases is bitumen abd energy costs and a sharp decline in market volumes," said Mr Lee. "Through effective pricing, energy management and cost cutting initiatives, the division was able to limit the overall decline, which was a solid result."

Products sales in the Americas fell -8% to € 3,2 billion, down from € 3,5 billion a year previously, while sales in the distribution division increased +9% to € 1,4 billion from € 1,3 billion 12 months earlier.

"Despite the challenging backdrop, CRH performed robustly in 2008 and succeeded in limiting the decline in performance brought about by the downturn in the global economy," said Mr Lee.

Forward

Mr Lee said the 2009 outlook for CRH is extremely challenging and the Group's efforts will be "resolutely focussed on commercial delivery" and on ensuring the businesses are strongly positioned through additional cost reduction and cash generation measures.

"CRH will continue to strengthen its financial flexibility in order to ensure the Group is well positioned to take advantage of a likely increased flow of development opportunities as the year progresses," said Mr lee.

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