CRH earnings up 11%

CRH earnings up 11%
Published: 26 February 2015

Tagged Under: USA CRH Ireland Europe 

CRH’s turnover increased by 4.9 per cent in 2014 to EUR18,912m while the EBITDA advanced by 11.3 per cent to EUR1641m. The trading profit before charging EUR49m of impairments rose by 28.8 per cent to EUR966m. The net interest charge declined by 1.2 per cent to EUR246m and a EUR77m gain on disposals, compared with EUR26m in 2014, led to a pre-tax profit of EUR761m compared with a loss of EUR215m in 2013.

The net attributable result swung from a EUR296m loss to a profit of EUR582m. Net debt at the end of December was 5.9 per cent higher at EUR5843m with the gearing level rising marginally from 57.1 per cent to 57.4 per cent, as shareholder’s funds increased by 5.3 per cent to EUR10,177m. Capital expenditure was reduced by 12.5 per cent to EUR435m.

Europe
European turnover, which includes the still relatively modest contribution from the Asian operations, declined by 2.7 per cent to EUR8578m, while in the Americas turnover increased by two per cent to EUR9453m. In terms of EBITDA, the European contribution again declined by double digits, or by a further 19.2 per cent to EUR583m, while the American contribution improved by 8.8 per cent to EUR892m. The proposed acquisitions from Holcim and Lafarge will notably increased the size of the business in Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany and Rumania and extend group operations to the Philippines and to Brazil.

The European heavy building materials turnover increased by 3.8 per cent to €3,929m and the EBITDA rose by 16.6 per cent to EUR380m and includes a EUR9m gain from the sale of emission rights (EUR8m). Cement volumes jumped by 65 per cent in the UK, helped by the increased sphere of consolidation, which has given CRH a four per cent market share. Volumes grew by in Ireland (17 per cent), Poland (12 per cent), and Switzerland (eight per cent) while there was a two per cent decline in Finland. Ukrainian cement deliveries were boosted by a full year’s contribution from Mykolaiv Cement, from Lafarge, while the underlying volume eased by one per cent. Dutch cement volumes were broadly stable and there was an increase in Belgium, while the Basque production was slightly ahead. Aggregates and ready-mixed concrete shipments were ahead in Ireland and in Poland but declined in Switzerland, Finland and The Netherlands. Concrete products volumes improved in Germany, Denmark, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia but declined in France. Clay operations, chiefly in Great Britain, improved but the sale of the British and American tile operations for EUR522m has been agreed.

European lightside building products saw turnover recover by 6.7 per cent to EUR913m and the EBITDA rose by 32.3 per cent to EUR94m. Construction accessories, which represent around 55 per cent of EBITDA, performed well in Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Spain, but trading conditions in France were difficult. Shutters and awnings, which represent 25 per cent of EBITDA, improved turnover and profitability. Elsewhere, fencing suffered from a difficult environment, but Cubis had another good year. The European distribution activities saw turnover improve by 1.6 per cent to EUR3999m and the EBITDA was 2.2 per cent higher at EUR190m. General builders’ merchants accounted some 45 per cent of the EBITDA from its 343 branches, while plumbing and heating contributed a quarter from its 132 outlets. The DIY business, which operates 184 stores in The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, accounted for the remaining 30 per cent of the EBITDA.

Americas
The North Americas heavy building materials turnover rose by 7.4 per cent and the EBITDA increased by 9.3 per cent to EUR609m, while the trading profit improved by 57.1 per cent to EUR355m. The eight acquisitions during the year cost EUR91m and added two active quarries and more than 230 of reserves, two aggregates terminals and six asphalt plants. Volumes were six per cent ahead at the underlying level and rose by 10 per cent when including acquisitions, with average prices improving by two per cent, or by one per cent on a comparative basis. Underlying ready-mixed concrete volumes improved by six per cent but increased by seven per cent, once acquisitions are included and prices improved by four per cent overall and margins improved. Asphalt volumes increased by six per cent.

Turnover in building products advanced by a further 5.1 per cent to EUR3225m and the EBITDA rose by 6.9 per cent to EUR263m. Architectural products, which account for 55 per cent of the divisional EBITDA, saw an underlying sales growth of seven per cent, better margins and trading profit. Pre-cast products, which represent a fifth of EBITDA, was helped by improving markets other than in public infrastructure and increased turnover by five per cent. The architectural glass and storefronts business represents 20 per cent of building products and sales improved by two per cent and margins and profits improved. The South American operations in Argentina and Chile accounted for the remaining 5 per cent of the EBITDA and profits declined in both countries. Finally, the American distribution business improved turnover by 6.7 per cent to EUR1776m and the EBITDA rose by 18 per cent to EUR105m, with exterior products accounting for 60 per cent of the EBITDA.