In an interim statement released today CRH has stated that it expects earnings to increase by 10 percent in the first half and improve for the year as a whole as it prepares to complete a major acquisition that will turn it into the world’s third-largest building materials supplier.
CRH has agreed to pay 6.5 billion euros for assets that rivals Holcim Lafarge are selling to win regulatory approval for their planned merger to create the cement industry’s biggest company.
Sales from continuing operations, excluding the 450 million euros of assets sold in the first four months of the year, were up 2.5 percent, driven by an 8 percent rise in its U.S. businesses, CRH said on Wednesday.
While European sales fell by 2 percent, that was against a strong previous year in which unusually mild weather boosted activity. CRH said the improving demand trends evident in late 2014 had continued into 2015.
The company said that favourable monetary policy and improving consumer sentiment should support European growth in the second half, historically its more profitable period, with group earnings from continuing operations expected to be ahead of last year.
CRH increased earnings for the first time in three years last year, when they rose 11 percent to 1.64 billion euros.
“This is an impressive performance in the context of the difficult weather-related comparisons for the group’s European operations and also reflects ongoing positive momentum in the Americas divisions,” Davy Stockrbrokers wrote in a note, adding that it would make a slight upgrade to its full-year earnings forecast. (Reuters)