CRH's turnover declined by 1.2% in 2010 to €17,173m and the EBITDA came down by 10.4% to €1615m. The trading profit fell by 26.9% to €698m and, after a net interest charge 16.8% lower at €247m, the running pre-tax profit was down by 32.2% to €479m. The net attributable profit fell by 27.0% to €432m. Net debt at the end of December was 6.7% lower at €3473m and the gearing level came down further from 38.3% to 33.4%, with shareholder's funds rising by 7.2% to €10,4130m. Capital expenditure was reduced by 32.9% to €515m, but acquisition spending was raised by 250.6% to 436m. European turnover, which also includes the still fairly modest Asian operations, was down by 3.5% to €9048m, while in the Americas there was a 1.6% increase to €8125m, helped by currency movements. In terms of EBITDA, the European contribution declined by 9.3% to €835m, while the American contribution was 11.7% lower at €780m.
The European heavy building materials division reported turnover declining by 3.1% to €2665m and the EBITDA eased by 2.5% to €423m. Cement deliveries dropped by a further 23% in Ireland on top of the 45% fall seen in the previous year. In the Ukraine cement volumes came off by 10% and the Portuguese associate reported a 7% volume reduction. Finland, on the other hand, staged a strong recovery, with volumes advancing by 19%, with increases of 8% being seen in Switzerland and of 3% in Poland. The gain on selling emission allowances rose from €22m to €67m. In total, approximately 13Mt of cement and 52Mt of aggregates were sold. The cement joint ventures in Turkey experienced stable volumes and an improvement in prices, while over-capacity in southern India led to lower volumes and prices there. In the part of China where CRH is active, both the subsidiary and the associate increased volumes and selling prices improved, with cement demand growing in double figures.
The building products turnover declined by 6.2% to €2817m and the EBITDA fell by 30.0% to €198m. Concrete products volumes suffered and volumes suffered in the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia and Denmark in particular. Brick volumes improved in Great Britain, but eased in the Dutch and Polish markets. The European distribution activities generated a turnover 1.8% lower at €3566m, but the EBITDA did improve by 4.9% to €214m.
In North America, the heavy building materials turnover grew by 3.2% to €4417m, with like-for-like sales being down by some 7% and the EBITDA declined by 15.5% to €566m. Volumes were off by 4% in aggregates to 111Mt, but prices were 1% higher, while in ready-mixed concrete volumes came off by some 8% to 6.5Mm³ and prices fell by 5% and in asphalt volumes came off by 5% to 42Mt with prices edging ahead by 1%. Higher costs for energy and raw materials had a negative effect, while €250m was spent on 18 acquisitions, totalling 34 quarries, 25 batching plants and 14 asphalt plants. Turnover in building products was off by 2.6% to €2469m and the EBITDA fell by 11.0% to €154m as architectural products were flat and pre-cast concrete volumes fell. On the other hand, good growth was seen in Canada and the South American operations in Argentina and Chile had a good year. The American distribution business generated a turnover 5.6% higher at €1239m and the EBITDA jumped by 53.9% to €60m.