CRH’s profits before tax down 10%

CRH’s profits before tax were down 10% to €606m year-on-year in the six months to the end of June, the construction firm has announced.

CRH’s profits before tax were down 10% to €606m year-on-year in the six months to the end of June, the construction firm has announced.

This was broadly in line with management guidance of “approximately €0.6bn”.

Management is now guiding that the decline in PBT will be broadly similar to that of H1.

Operating profit in Europe advanced by €20m to €515m, an increase of 4%, with a strong 20% advance in materials operating profit being partly offset by operating profit declines of 12% in products and 3% in distribution.

Americas operating profit at €197m was €79m or 29% lower than first-half 2007. In US dollar terms, operating profit fell 18%. First-half materials operating profit fell by 47%, while products was down 12% with distribution 10% higher.

The interim dividend is 20.5c, an increase of 2.5%.

First-half expenditure on acquisitions and investments totalled €700,000, including the purchase of a 45% stake in Indian cement manufacturer My Home Industries and 100% of UK construction accessories producer Ancon together with 35 other acquisitions across the Group’s operations.

“Following 15 years of consecutive growth and a record performance in 2007, more difficult trading conditions and a weaker US dollar will, as previously indicated, result in a lower outcome for 2008,” said CRH chief executive Liam O’Mahony.

“The percentage decline in full year profit before tax is expected to be broadly similar to that reported for the first six months, with a lesser reduction in earnings per share due to the ongoing share buyback and an expected lower percentage tax charge.

“Against this background, CRH’s geographic, sectoral and product balance, combined with significant cost and commercial initiatives, underpins performance and cash flow.”

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