Irish cement maker Readymix has reported a 20 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to EUR9.5m, in the six months ended June 2004.
The company, which is controlled by UK-based RMC Group, said that an 11 per cent hike in sales in Ireland did not compensate for a combination of competitive pricing and increasing costs, both of which led to an erosion of margins.
Turnover for the group was EUR122.6m, a 6pc increase on the first half of the preceding year of 2003.
Sales in Northern Ireland increased by nine per cent, margins were maintained and profits increased, the company said in a statement. It added that turnover and profits in the Isle of Man were not comparable due to the sale of the company’s merchants’ business at the end of 2003.
"A reduction in infrastructural spending on the island led to a challenging six months for our concrete business," it added.
During the six months capital expenditure was EUR6.2m, and the firm invested a further EUR8m on two acquisitions to strengthen the geographical spread of aggregate operations and precast products.
According to Readymix, reorganisation at the group, which started last year, has now been completed and action is being taken with a focus on reversing the recent decline in earnings.