|CRH, the global building materials group, was formed through a merger in 1970 of two leading Irish public companies, Cement Limited (established in 1936) and Roadstone Limited (1949). CRH accounts for more than one third of market capitalisation on the Irish Stock Exchange and up to 90% of CRH's shares are held outside Ireland. About 2,000 of CRH's payroll of more than 94,000, are located in Ireland.
CRH plc, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and is the second-biggest building materials supplier in the world, and the market leader in the United States, in a trading statement issued this morning, reported 2009 sales fell 18% and profit before tax dipped 55% to €0.75 billion.
CRH said while news flow surrounding economic developments and financial markets over recent months has been more positive than in the first half of 2009, trading conditions remain difficult and the timing of any sustained pick-up in developed world construction demand is unclear.
The group said the management remains focussed on ongoing cost reduction and operational initiatives which will benefit our performance in 2010. Thee measures, together with a strong balance sheet and cash generating capability, leave CRH well-positioned to respond to evolving demand patterns across its markets and to pursue development opportunities which offer compelling value and strategic fit.
At the end of December 2009, CRH accounted for 34% of the market capitalisation of the Irish Stock Exchange.
CRH closed at €19.50 in Dublin on Monday and it had a market capitalisation of €13.9 billion.
Cash flow in the second half of the year was particularly strong with a reduction in net debt from €5.1 billion at 30 June to under €4.0 billion at 31 December after second half acquisition expenditure of close to €0.2 billion. Year end net debt of under €4 billion comprised gross debt of approximately €5.3 billion offset by cash and liquid investments of approximately €1.4 billion. Unutilised bank term facilities amounted to approximately €2 billion at end-December.
CRH also announced today, 10 acquisitions and investments totalling €168 million undertaken during the second half of 2009. It said these transactions, together with six bolt-on acquisitions completed in first half 2009, the separately announced Shanghai-listed Yatai Cement Group transaction (January 2009), and deferred acquisition payments arising in respect of prior years acquisitions bring the group’s total development outlay for the year to approximately €450 million.
Commenting on these developments, Myles Lee, CRH Chief Executive, said: "Four acquisitions by our Americas Materials Division in the final months of 2009 accounted for over 80% of second half development spend. These transactions - Hilty Quarries, assets acquired from Lafarge, Wheeler Companies and Burdick Paving – represent strategic additions to existing CRH operations in Missouri, Texas and Utah adding substantial aggregates reserves with significant opportunities for operating and purchasing synergies. CRH remains well positioned to take advantage of further development prospects as they arise".