Last year, CRH's turnover declined by 16.9 per cent to €17,373m and the EBITDA fell by 32.4 per cent to €1803m. After a 48.1 per cent drop in the trading profit, only partially compensated by a 13.4 per cent reduction in the net interest charge to €297m, the running pre-tax profit was down by 52.9 per cent to €732m. Net debt at the end of December was down by 38.9 per cent to €3723m, helped by last year's rights issue, which helped reduce the gearing from 74.7 per cent, to 38.3 per cent as shareholder's funds increased by 19.0 per cent to €9710m. Capital expenditure was cut by 26.2 per cent to €767m and acquisition spending dropped by 77.6 per cent to 174m. European turnover, which also includes the still modest Asian operations, contracted by 16.2 per cent to €9376m, while in the Americas the reduction was of 17.6 per cent to €7997m. In terms of EBITDA, the European contribution fell by 36.8 per cent to €920m, while the American contribution was 27.0 per cent lower at €883m. In Ireland, cement deliveries dropped by about 45 per cent on top of the 20 per cent reduction seen in the previous year. In Finland and the Ukraine, the next worst performers, cement volumes dropped by 40 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. As a result of the commissioning of coal mills, CRH has markedly improved its competitive position in the Ukraine. Poland did better, restricting the volume reduction to 10 per cent, with an increase in volumes now being expected once the winter is out of the way. In Switzerland, cement volumes actually increased, as did cement exports from Portugal, though domestic deliveries in Portugal declined as did Dutch cement sales.