CRH sees sales decline slowing, expects strong H2

Building materials group CRH today said it expected its sales decline for the year to date to reduce to approximately 10%, compared with the 14% decline to end April reported in early May.

In an interim trading statement issued this morning for the six months to June 30, 2010, the company said it now expects that first-half profit before tax is expected to be close to break-even after after restructuring costs of approximately €30m.

This compares to pre-tax profits of €0.1bn for H1 2009.

Earnings for the seasonally less profitable first half of the year will show a decline of approximately 20%, compared to EBITDA of €0.65bn for H1 2009, the company said.

Operating profit for the six months to June is expected to be approximately half of last year's €0.24bn.

The group meanwhile said it has spent €133m on 13 separate acquisitions over the first half of the year.

CRH said it expects its earnings for the seasonally more important second half of the year to beat the €1.15bn it made during the same period last year.

"CRH remains very well positioned to deliver a healthy transaction flow as trading visibility improves," the statement said.

"In the meantime we remain focussed on delivering strong cash performance from our existing businesses."

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