CRH, the Irish building materials group, beat already-increased expectations in the first half of the year, as rising demand in the US construction industry helped it to record profits after an acquisition spree last year.

On a reported basis, pre-tax profit more than quadrupled to €344m as the result of two major acquisitions. On a proforma basis, however, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew a still-impressive 20 per cent.

Strong results were expected after the company upgraded its profit forecasts last month. Proforma revenues grew 8 per cent compared to the same period last year, to €12.7bn, ahead of analyst expectations of €12.3bn.

The growth was driven by strong performance in the US, but the company said it is also seeing a “modest recovery” in European property markets.

CRH said it expects “positive momentum” in the Americas to carry on into its more important second half of the year, and predicted full-year ebitda “in excess of” €3bn.

CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said:

We have had a very satisfactory first half, with good performance from our heritage businesses and contributions from 2015 acquisitions delivering significant profit growth for CRH.

With continued positive momentum in the Americas and the modest impact of early-stage economic recovery in Europe, and assuming normal weather conditions for the remainder of the season, we expect further progress in the second half with full year reported EBITDA in excess of €3 billion.”

The company has been looking to take advantage of recovery in the US property market after buying California-based glazing company CR Laurence for $1.3bn last summer.

At the time, chief executive Mr Manifold said the company would probably need a year to fully get to grips with its expanded size, after it also acquired $6.5bn worth of assets from Lafarge and Holcim.

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