CRH returns to profit

CRH has said today that it returned to profit after tax in the first half on a strong performance in Europe.

Albert Manifold, Chief Executive, said today: “2014 got off to an encouraging start with favourable weather in Europe and continuing recovery in the US. We are pleased with the strong operating leverage which is reflected in margin improvement for the period. Economic indicators continue to be positive in the Americas, while in Europe we have seen some easing of trends in recent months. Assuming normal weather patterns and no major market dislocations, and with the benefit of contributions from acquisitions and cost saving measures, we continue to expect second-half Group EBITDA to be somewhat ahead of last year (H2 2013: €1.08 billion).”

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Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 27pc higher at €505 million in the first six months compared to last year and were set to be “somewhat ahead” of last year in the second half.

Ukraine is one of CRH’s main eastern European markets, accounting for €24 million of EBITDA in 2013.

The company, which said in February that it would sell at least 10pc of net assets in a portfolio review, said its divestment programme would likely be worth between €1.5 billion and €2 billion.