CRH helped by acquisitions

 CRH helped by acquisitions
28 February 2012


CRH's turnover recovered by 5.3% last year to €18,081m and the EBITDA was ahead by 2.5% to €1656m. The trading profit rose by 24.8% to €871m and after other charges, including a net interest charge 5.1% higher at €229m, the running pre-tax profit improved by 12.9% to €743m. The net attributable profit advanced by 36% to €597m. Net debt at the end of December was 0.3% higher at €3483m and the gearing level was marginally lower at 32.9% compared with 33.4%, as shareholder's funds increased by 1.7% to €10,583. Capital expenditure rose by 11.8% to €576m and 10.5% more was spent on acquisitions at €567m.

European turnover, which still includes the modest, but strongly rising, contribution from the Asian operations, increased by 10.2% to €9973m, while in the Americas the turnover eased by 0.2% to €8108m. In terms of EBITDA, the European contribution improved by 7.4% to €897m, while the American contribution was down by 2.7% at €759m.  

The European heavy building materials division reported a 12% increase in turnover to €2985m and the EBITDA improved by 3.1% to €436m. Domestic cement deliveries fell by a further 16% in Ireland to some 37% of the peak demand. In northern and eastern Europe, cement volumes rose; by 14% in Finland, by 16% in Poland and by 17% in the Ukraine. A lower gain from the sale of emission allowances also reduced the profit contribution from the European cement activities. The cement operations in Asia, however, increased their contributions. The cement joint venture in Turkey increased domestic deliveries by some 20%, but reduced exports limited the overall increase to 7%. The joint-venture southern India reported improved profitability though volumes were lower. In the parts of China where CRH is active, both the subsidiary and the associate saw volumes and selling prices improve. Profitability advanced strongly on the back of double-digit volume growth, but the benefits from the new Ukrainian kiln will come only from 2012.

The building products turnover declined by 6% to €2648m and the EBITDA eased by 2% to €194m. Concrete products, which represent half the profits, showed lower Dutch results, but improvements in Germany and Denmark. The clay activities represented 15% of EBITDA, with volumes weaker, except for housebuilding in Great Britain. In other building products, volumes were slightly better, but margins were lower because of higher costs and competitive pressures. The European distribution activities were helped by better weather and some acquisitions and generated a turnover 21.7% higher at €4340m and the EBITDA advanced by 24.8% to €267m. General builders’ merchants accounted 55% of the EBITDA from 410 branches, while plumbing and heating contributed 15% from 103 outlets. The DIY side, with 241 stores, brought in the remaining 30% of the profit.

In North America, the heavy building materials turnover eased by 0.5% to €4,395m and the EBITDA declining by 6.4% to €530m. The 19 acquisitions during the year added 23 quarries, nine batching plants and 13 asphalt plants. Volumes were up by 10% in aggregates to 122Mt, but average prices were lower because of the mix. Ready-mixed concrete volumes rose by some 13% to 7.3Mm³ while prices eased by about 1% and costs rose by a similar percentage. Thanks to higher volumes, profitability was broadly unchanged. Asphalt volumes were down by 1% and margins suffered from a competitive environment and declined. Paving and construction services contributed a broadly unchanged turnover, but strong competition meant that increased costs could not be passed on and profits fell.

Turnover in building products was off by 3.7% to €2378m, but the EBITDA did recover by 6.5% to €164m. Architectural products saw modest growth in the year, while pre-cast products continued to suffer from weak demand and competitive pricing. The South American operations in Argentina and Chile represented about 5% of the EBITDA.  The EBITDA was down on the weaker trading conditions in Argentina. The American distribution business increased turnover by 7.8% to €1,335m and the EBITDA advanced by 8.3% to €65m, with some 85% of the EBITDA coming from exterior products. 

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: Ireland CRH