CRH seeks to raise €7bn for acquisitions

By Maurice Garvey 

BUILDINGS material giant CRH is looking to generate €7bn in cash, before asset disposals, over the next four years which it may use to fund acquisitions, increase dividends, or buy back more shares.

Currency headwinds and severe weather disruption in the early part of the year meant revenue only grew by 1 per cent in the first half of the year to €11.94 billion, with earnings — on an EBITDA basis — also up 1 per cent at €1.13 billion and pre-tax profit up 5 per cent at €497 million.

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CRH on the Belgard Road 

There were mixed performances from CRH’s main divisions in Europe and the Americas, but the only real major dents were seen in the Europe distribution business, where revenues fell two per cent, and Asia, where the struggling Philippines business saw revenues tumble 16 per cent.

Chief executive Albert Manifold said the company enjoyed good first half despite significant weather disruption in Europe and North America in the first quarter.

He said: “Construction markets continued to recover and pricing gathered momentum in key European markets while there was solid volume and price growth against a positive economic backdrop in the Americas.

“Active portfolio management remains an important element of our ongoing strategic focus on capital allocation, while integration of our recent acquisitions is progressing as planned. I am also pleased to report that the first phase of our share buyback programme has been completed, with €350 million returned to shareholders to date. In addition, the Board has decided to increase the interim dividend by 2.1 per cent to 19.6 cent per share.”

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