Sales revenue growth pleases investors as CRH shares rise 2.5% in trading

Shares in concrete and cement products giant CRH rose by over 2.5%, to €19.05, yesterday on the back of the Dublin-based group reporting like-for-like sales growth of 2% for the third quarter of the year.

Including the net impact of acquisitions, disposals and exchange rate movements, the group saw overall sales revenues for the quarter, top €5.4bn, bringing revenue for the first nine months of the year to €13.4bn; marginally down on a re-stated basis.

In its latest trading update, CRH said the better third quarter showing was aided by much improved weather conditions in the US in August and September. Revenues in the Americas division grew by 4%, year-on-year, with European sales close to 2012 levels.

Poor earlier year weather had hampered first half performance so much so that the initial six months saw the group post losses of more than €70m and a 6% like-for-like revenue decline. Management added that a detailed portfolio review is under way, which will identify which of its businesses offer the most attractive future returns.

It is likely to result in further non-core disposals. This year CRH has spent €660m on acquisitions and developments, while it has raised €215m in disposal proceeds.

Net debt, as of the end of September, stood at €4bn — 500m higher than 12 months earlier.

In the absence of further acquisitions this year — and based on current exchange rates — management anticipates full-year 2013 debt to amount to 3.2bn; up from a re-stated figure of €2.9bn for 2012 as a whole.

Management says it has identified extra cost savings, with the ongoing programme set to save 195m this year, and bring cumulative savings to €2.6bn by end 2015.

CRH’s board reiterated its earnings targets for the second half of the year, with EBITDA expected to be unchanged at around €1.04bn.


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