Weak Eurozone trading challenges CRH

By Sarah Ann McCay20 August 2013

CRH chief executive Myles Lee.

CRH chief executive Myles Lee.

Construction materials producer CRH continues to be affected by challenging trading conditions in Europe with its latest financial figures showing a decline in sales and earnings.

First half figures, up to June 30 2013, showed sales revenue down 3% at €8 billion, compared with €8.2 billion for the first half of 2012.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), and impairment charges amounted to €400 million, in line with the firm’s AGM guidance, down from €520 million in 2012.

However, the Irish firm continued to invest in new acquisitions, with first half investment expenditure at €470 million. CRH has spent €800 million in the last 12 months.

CRH completed a total of 18 investments or acquisitions during the first half of the year. These included the acquisition of Cementos Lemona in Spain as part of the asset swap in which CRH divested its 26% stake in Corporacion Uniland.

Myles Lee, CEO of CRH, said, ”Although recent economic indicators suggest that the Eurozone may be emerging from recession, overall construction activity remains weak and we expect challenging trading conditions in Europe for the remainder of 2013.

"In the US, economic growth is estimated to have strengthened over recent quarters and we expect second half EBITDA to be ahead of last year. Overall for CRH, we expect EBITDA for the second half of the year to be in line with last year (2012: €1.04 billion)."

He said, "The Group continues to focus on cost management, operational excellence, value-adding acquisitions and strong cash generation, and is well-positioned to progress as markets recover.”

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