Sunday 25 September 2016

CRH sells controversial stake in Israel's only cement firm Mashav

Published 08/01/2016 | 07:53

THE WALL: A Palestinian boy cycles near the infamous barrier
THE WALL: A Palestinian boy cycles near the infamous barrier
Albert Manifold, the CRH chief executive

CRH has sold its 25pc stake in Israel’s only cement firm, Mashav, ending a focus of huge controversy for the Irish group.

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CRH has been targeted by pro-Palestinian activists at its AGMs who pressed for the global building materials firm to sell the stake in the Israeli group.

Cement produced by Mashav has been used to build barriers for a widely condemned security wall that separates Israel from the Palenstinian West Bank.

The infamous wall dividing the West Bank from Israel helped inspire dramatic scenes in the recent Brad Pitt film World War Z, where zombies attacked a giant wall protecting Israel.

CRH owned a stake in Mashav since 2001, and for years has drawn fire from some shareholders and international pressure groups for retaining its holding in the company.

Mashav is the holding company for a firm called Nesher, whose cement has ultimately been used to make huge concrete slabs that were used to construct the wall dividing the West Bank from Israel.

Over a decade ago, the Israeli government began building what will eventually be a 700km-long security fence. About 10pc of it comprises a concrete wall that's about 25 feet high.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign is among the groups that for years put pressure on CRH to divest its stake in Mashav. The group has previously staged protests at CRH annual general meetings.

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