Materials giant CRH to slow acquisitions as first-half profits fall 28%

Dublin-headquartered global building materials firm CRH says it will slow the pace of mergers and acquisitions after profits fell 28% in the first half of this year.

Profit before tax fell to $518m in the first half from $717m in the same period last year.

The coronavirus pandemic’s stifling effect on construction in its main markets of Europe, the Americas and Asia played a role in the drop.

But the group noted that profits gained from selling off parts of the business dropped to just $9m in the first half, down from $165m in the first half of 2019.

Actual revenues in the first half – during which lockdowns affecting construction were imposed, then lifted in many locales – fell around 5% to $12.2bn from $12.8bn during the same period last year.

"We will continue with mergers and acquisitions but at a slower pace," said CRH chief executive Albert Manifold, reports The Irish Times.

He said, however, that there were plenty of such deals still in the pipeline.

CRH’s growth strategy has been based on acquisitions.

Manifold said CRH cut $200m in fixed costs in the first half in response to the crisis.

The outlook "remained uncertain and is dependent on an improving health situation across our markets", Manifold said.

Image: Bispebjerg Hospital car park, Copenhagen, built with 22,000 cubic metres of slabs and panels from CRH company, Betonelement (CRH)

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