CRH trading statement

CRH trading statement
Published: 03 January 2008

CRH plc today issued its trading statement for the year ended 31 December 2007. The Preliminary Results for 2007 are due to be announced on Tuesday 4 March 2008.


• CRH expects 2007 profit before tax to be close to euro 1.9 billion giving a high-teen percentage increase on 2006 (EUR1.602bn) and a 15th consecutive year of profit and earnings growth.

• Acquisition spend in the second half of 2007 amounted to euro EUR1.2bn resulting in a record full year acquisition spend of approximately euro EUR2.2bn.

• 2007 EBITDA/net interest cover is expected to remain high at approximately 9 times (2006: 9.7 times).

The phased reduction in dividend cover to a targeted 3.5 times for the 2008
     financial year continues.  With a strong financial position the Board has
     decided to introduce a share repurchase programme, limited to a maximum of
     5% of the 547 million Ordinary Shares currently in issue. CRH remains
     committed to an active development programme while maintaining an
     investment grade credit rating.
•    In Europe,  with a continuing strong trading performance from Materials
     operations and good full year profit advances in Products and Distribution
     operations CRH anticipates 2007 operating profit of approximately 
     EUR1.1bn (2006: euro 0.814bn).
•    The expectation is for 2007 operating profit from CRH’s Americas
     activities to be approximately US$1.35bn (2006: US$1.196bn).
     At the average 2007 US $/euro exchange rate this would amount to
     approximately EUR0.985bn (2006: euro 0.953bn at the average
     2006 rate).
•    While as ever there are risks, CRH is well positioned across its operations
     to deal with the evolving market circumstances while continuing to take
     advantage of an ongoing strong pipeline of development opportunities. With
     a relentless emphasis on margin development through price and cost
     effectiveness, we remain focused on our twin goals - performance and growth
     - and on delivering a sixteenth consecutive year of profit and earnings
     growth in 2008.