Dunce's cap for CRH
JUST what is happening at CRH? Its share price is down by 35 per cent over the past six months and by 28 per cent over the past year on the Dublin market. Yes, the building materials sector is going through a rough patch worldwide, but even when compared with its peers, CRH is underperforming.
CRH's three main international competitors are the Swiss company Holcim, Cemex of Mexico and France's Lafarge. While the share prices of all four companies have fallen over both the past six months and the past year, CRH lies at the bottom of its class. While its share price has fallen over 25 per cent in dollar terms over the past six months, Cemex has fallen by less than 20 per cent, while both Holcim and Lafarge have fallen by about 5 per cent. Over a 12-month period, the picture is only slightly less unflattering, with CRH and Lafarge both down 25 per cent in dollar terms while Cemex and Holcim are each down by about 15 per cent.
Is this merely a reflection of the fact that CRH is registered in Ireland and is suffering from the backlash against all things Irish in the international capital markets or a manifestation of deeper, as yet unrecognised, problems at Ireland's largest industrial company?
Only time will tell.