CRH announces improved sales in quarter three

Cement-maker CRH has announced improved performance in the third quarter of the year after poor weather affected sales inEurope and the US in the first six months of 2013.

Like-for-like sales were up 2 per cent on the same period last year, while Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) rose 3 per cent to €660 million, despite adverse currency exchange rates.

Sales in the first half of this year were down 6 per cent on 2012, reflecting a 10 per cent fall in European operations and 1 per cent drop in the US.

The company’s interim management statement noted that there had been a moderation in the declining demand in Europe since mid-year, while both the residential and non-residential sectors in the US were growing despite a continuing fall in infrastructure-related activities.

This resulted in like-for-like sales growth of 2 per cent for the group overall, reflecting European sales close to 2012 levels and a 4 per cent increase in the US.

This brings the cumulative decline in sales to 3 per cent for the nine months to the end of September.

Overall sales revenue for the third quarter amounted to €5.4 billion, up 2 per cent on last year. Total revenue for the year to date is €13.4 billion, 1 per cent below the 2012 figure.

The company said it expects Ebitda for the last three months of the year to be similar to 2012, assuming normal weather patterns and a stable US dollar exchange rate.

Six acquisitions were completed in the quarter, bringing cumulative acquisition and investment expenditure to €660 million by the end of September. A quarter of this expenditure was related to investments in developing regions such as the Ukraine,China and India.

Business divestments and other asset disposals since 2007 have generated approximately €2 billion.

The company said it expects to achieve savings of €195 million for 2013, with further cost reductions of €175 million to be carried out in 2014 and 2015. Source: The Irish Times