CRH - November 2018

In its autumn trading statement, CRH said that its underlying turnover in the first nine months improved by one per cent in Europe, by four per cent in the Americas and by three per cent in Asia, giving an overall increase of three per cent to around EUR19,900m (US$22.7m), with a third quarter increase of four per cent. EBITDA was ahead by around two per cent in Europe and by three per cent in the Americas, but falling by some 44 per cent in Asia, giving a two per cent improvement at the group level to some EUR2500m. For the full year, CRH is expecting a higher pretax profit than in 2017. Depreciation and amortisation charges are expected to be broadly similar to the EUR1100m charged last year, while the net interest charge should be higher following the acquisition of Ash Grove. The share of profits from associates in expected to be broadly similar to the EUR65m achieved last year.

The European heavy-side turnover was an underlying four per cent higher and the EBITDA improved by two per cent. Domestic cement deliveries improved in Ireland, Poland, Switzerland, the Benelux, Germany and Serbia, remained stable in France, but lower in Finland, Great Britain and in Ukraine. Downstream volumes did advance in France and Finland. Prices were generally favourable. In light-side products, turnover improved by five per cent and EBITDA was also ahead by five per cent, helped by good demand in The Netherlands and Poland. On the distribution side, following the disposal of the Benelux DIY activities in July and a difficult market in Switzerland, underlying turnover was one per cent ahead, but EBITDA declined by four per cent.

In the Americas, turnover and EBITDA improved by four per cent and three per cent respectively. For the full year, improved EBITDA are expected. The heavy building materials turnover improved by five per cent, helped by good price increases but held back by heavy rainfall in the third quarter. Aggregate volumes proved by eight per cent, boosted by the south that was less affected by the unfavourable weather conditions and like-for-like prices were three per cent ahead. Asphalt volumes were in line but off by two per cent on a comparative basis. Ready-mixed concrete volumes were 28 per cent ahead and little changed on a comparative basis, with pricing being positive in most region. Ash Grove provided a significant increase in the cement activities. In Canada the cement volume declined by two per cent because of wet weather. Building products saw a two per cent increase in turnover and EBITDA were ahead by six per cent, helped by an improved pricing.

The Asian operations showed a three per cent turnover improvement in the first nine months of the year. In the Philippines the cement market was highly competitive, leading to increased pricing pressure and underlying EBITDA came off by 44 per cent. Volumes showed some recovery during the third quarter and recorded a two per cent increase, but higher fuel and power costs hit profits badly. In India volumes were ahead in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, while in the northeast of China, volumes were lower, but prices were well ahead.