CRH: interim 2007 trading statement

CRH: interim 2007 trading statement
Published: 02 July 2007

CRH said Monday it expects to deliver a 25% rise in pretax profit for the first six months of the year as a strong performance in Europe outweighs difficult market conditions in the Americas.

The Irish building materials company also unveiled EUR395m in new acquisitions and said its Chief Executive Liam O’Mahony will retire at the end of 2008.

CRH said Monday that it expects pretax profit for the six months to June 30 to rise by 25% compared with EUR526m reported for 2006.

It said the rise came "with a particularly strong start in Europe significantly outweighing more challenging conditions in the Americas."

Merrion Capital analyst John Mattimoe said CRH’s 25% estimated rise in profit for the first six months was better than he expected.

CRH also announced 31 new acquisitions totaling EUR395
m, undertaken during the first half of 2007, which brings to almost EUR1bnthe value of acquisitions undertaken during the period.

The largest number of newly-bought companies are located in Poland, France and the Americas.

The company said the acquired businesses represented EUR600
m in sales with an average 6% margin.

Mattimoe said the operations showed a healthy level of bolt-on acquisitions in the first-half continuing at the same level as last year. He pointed out that last year the amount of acquisitions stood at over EUR2bn.

CEO O’Mahony said: "CRH has an active pipeline of acquisition opportunities and expects to deliver strongly in terms of both profit growth and development activity for 2007 as a whole".

The company said O’Mahony will leave the helm of CRH on December 31, 2008, after having completed nine years in the role.

Mattimoe said the departure was already expected for the second half of 2008.