CRH has spent EUR740m in the year to date on acquisitions and is indicating a pre-tax profit for the first six months of around EUR600m, compared with EUR670m last year. For the full year, CRH is currently expecting a pre-tax decline in high single figures after a 15 years of consecutive profit and earnings growth, with the falling dollar reducing profits by around EUR80m.
In heavy building materials, a strong start in Poland and the Ukraine and some recovery in Portugal have more than compensated for the reduced activity in Spain and Ireland, suggesting a profit improvement in the region of 20%. Two quarries were purchased in Poland and Andalusia, while the Turkish associate bought a quarry and two batching plants. CRH has made its first entry into Hungary, buying Ferrobeton, a concrete products producer with five plants and bought other building products businesses in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and China. In distribution, EUR108m was spent on 18 outlets in Switzerland and the Netherlands. In building products, turnover was down by some 10%, with Britain being notably weak.
In the Americas acquisitions in the period amounted to EUR117m and included 13 heavy building materials businesses that were bought for a total of EUR67m. In building products three new businesses were acquired in the United States and a joint venture partner was bought out, while in distribution, two acquisitions were made in Chile and the USA. Underlying volumes in the Americas declined, with wet weather in May and June further hitting the roads related operations.