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CRH Interim 2007 Trading Statement

CRH plc, the international building materials group, has issued a trading statement for the half-year ending 30 June 2007. The Interim results for the six months ending 30 June 2007 are due to be announced on 28 August 2007.


  • With a particularly strong start in Europe significantly outweighing more challenging conditions in the Americas, CRH expects that profit before tax for the six months to 30 June will show a percentage increase of approximately 25% compared with the reported 2006 outcome of €526 million.

  • Profit on disposal of fixed assets was €17 million for the first half of 2006 and €40 million for the year. It is anticipated that profits on disposals for 2007 will be ahead of last year’s levels and that disposal of surplus properties will be an ongoing feature of the group’s activities.

  • First half development expenditure totalled almost €1 billion including the purchase of publicly-quoted Swiss builders merchant Getaz Romang and CRH ’s first acquisitions in China and Turkey.

  • EBITDA/net interest cover remains high at approximately 9 times for the twelve months to June 2007, well above the group’s stated comfort level of approximately 6 times. CRH is committed to optimising the use of its balance sheet while maintaining an investment grade credit rating.

  • In March 2007, the Board announced a full year 2006 dividend of 52.0 cent, up 33% with dividend cover of 4.3 times. This represented a first step in a phased reduction in dividend cover to a targeted 3.5 times for 2008. The 2007 interim dividend will show a significant increase on the 2006 level reflecting this dividend policy and broadly re-establishing the traditional split between interim and final dividends.

Notwithstanding the translation impact of a weaker US Dollar, with an ongoing focus on price and cost effectiveness, benefits from the record 2006 acquisition spend and a sustained development emphasis, CRH expects strong full year profit growth.

In a comment, CRH Chief Executive Liam O’Mahony said: “CRH has once again achieved a very positive trading performance and strong development success in the first half of 2007. We continue to have an active pipeline of acquisition opportunities and, with price and cost effectiveness and balance sheet optimisation as key priorities, we expect to deliver strongly in terms of both profit growth and development activity for 2007 as a whole”.

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