Building materials group CRH today said sales for the first four months of the yearly were 6% ahead of the same period last year.
In an interim management statement issued in advance of the company's AGM this morning, CRH said revenues for the first two months of 2011 showed a 'good improvement' on last year's level., benefiting from a much more favourable weather backdrop than in 2010.
"This cumulative early sales trend has, as expected, moderated through March and April; nevertheless like-for-like sales for the four months to end-April were 6% ahead of 2010," the company said.
CRH said it expected like-for-like sales for the first half of 2011 to be ahead of 2010, with EBITDA for the period also expected to exceed last year's level (first-half 2010: €0.52bn).
The company said operations in European countries experiencing austerity measures - Ireland, Portugal and Spain - continue to face very challenging market conditions. More positive trends in construction activity were evident in stable developed markets in Switzerland and Finland, while in
Poland and the developing economies to the east demand is picking up well, CRH added.
Meanwhile the company's American operations have seen a cumulative like-for-like increase of 3% in sales for the first four months.
The company said that a total of 13 acquisitions and investments have been completed to date at a total cost of approximately €135m, while the first four months of 2011 have also seen the sale of its European Insulation division; part of its Climate Control business and a 35% investment in the Trialis Distribution business in France.
CRH said it was on track to deliver total incremental gross savings of €136m in 2011 as part of its ongoing cost reduction programme.
The company will report its interim results for the six months ending June 30, 2011 on Tuesday August 16.