Group plans acquisitions to build on material success of last year’s deals

CRH has said it has several investment and acquisition deals in the pipeline, but has declined to say if its overall spend for 2012 will eclipse last year’s €600m outlay.

As well as continuing to look at growing its presence in China and India, the building materials giant is likely to strengthen its foothold in its core markets of mainland Europe and the US.

CEO Myles Lee said yesterday: “We can’t project how much we’ll spend for the full year, but we are continuing to see opportunities arising and we have a balance sheet which can support further acquisition spending.”

At the same briefing to mark the publication of the group’s first-half financials, chief operating officer Albert Manifold said the group had a number of potential deals in the pipeline, at various stages of negotiation, across Europe and the US.

Last year saw CRH spend a total of €600m on acquisitions and investments.

At the group’s 2011 full-year results announcement in February, Mr Lee said the company would be “reasonably active” in the marketplace this year after seeing the immediate positive effects of last year’s spend. The first half of 2012 saw the group spend a further €250m on acquisitions, with the majority of those in Europe.

Management did not expand yesterday upon last week’s confirmation that it was in talks with India’s Jaypee Cement Corporation regarding the potential investment in the Indian group’s cement business in the province of Gujarat, beyond reiterating that — contrary to previous reports — it was only interested in an equity stake and the assets in the aforementioned province, rather than other assets elsewhere in the country.

Mr Manifold said CRH had continually invested in emerging markets for over 20 years and planned to continue that trend.

Mr Lee, meanwhile, said that management would look to build on the €50m cost savings made in the first half, but said it was too early to say how the group’s Irish operations might be affected by this.

He said the group wanted to see stronger commitment by policymakers to restoring investor confidence in the eurozone, as well as some kind of stimulus plan for the Irish construction sector in the next budget.


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