CRH can spend big on acquisitions

CRH can spend big on acquisitions
Published: 08 May 2014

Tagged Under: Holcim Lafarge CRH 

CRH Chief executive Albert Manifold was questioned by the Irish Examiner about growth opportunities for the Irish building materials company following the company's AGM in Dún Laoghaire. Albert Manifold said that management would continue to search for opportunities in its core markets of mainland Europe, the Americas and Asia and would have approximately EUR1.5bn available to spend over the next year and a half to spend on acquisitions and investments in the next year.

Since the beginning of 2014 CRH has spent EUR60m on acquisitions and investments covering seven "small" transactions. CRH spent EUR720m on acquisitions in 2013.

As for the potential opportunities arising from the merger between Holcim and Lafarge which will see around EUR5bn worth of assets sold off in order for it to meet competition approval, Mr Manifold said that CRH looks at a number of business opportunities, but did not disclose any firm interest in this particular transaction, although admitted they would watch the progress "very carefully".

He said the Holcim deal would be "very significant" for the global cement industry, but noted that cement only makes up 15 per cent of CRH’s broad-based business and the Irish group will continue to grow from its existing platforms. CRH is undertaking its own asset disposal round, as part of its strategic portfolio review.

In February, the company said it would be selling 45 subsidiary companies or 10 per cent of its asset base with another 20 per cent to be reviewed. A number of sales processes, regarding the initial 10 per cent, are already under way. Of the remaining 20 per cent, Mr Manifold said that half will be kept, with the other half (representing seven per cent of annual group earnings) still being under review.