Building materials giant CRH returning billions to shareholders after record year

CRH CEO Albert Manifold. Photo: Gary O' Neill

Sarah Collins

Irish building materials giant CRH has returned $300m (€276m) to shareholders over the last three months after completing the latest phase of a buyback programme.

Since mid-December last year, the group has repurchased 5.9 million ordinary shares on the Dublin stock exchange.

It brings to $4.3bn (€4bn) the total returned to shareholders through buybacks since May 2018.

The group also announced it will begin the first stage of a larger $3bn buyback programme today that it announced earlier this month.

The London-based branch of Swiss banking giant UBS - which recently took over ailing lender Credit Suisse - will handle the first $750m phase of the buyback, which is to end no later than June 29.

A maximum number of 50 million shares will be bought back via London or Dublin exchanges, CRH said in a statement.

The news follows a record year for sales, profits, margins and cash reserves at the Dublin and London-listed group.

Earlier this month CRH said it is considering delisting from the UK and Irish stock exchanges in favour of an American listing, as its business across the Atlantic now makes up around 75pc of its earnings.

A trio of multi-trillion dollar subsidy plans by the US administration – the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Inflation Reduction Act and Chips Act, some of which the EU is trying to emulate – are part and parcel of CRH’s transatlantic shift.

CRH chief executive Albery Manifold said the group would have “higher levels of growth” if it were to list in the US.

Despite significant cost inflation, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) were $5.6bn (€5.3bn) last year, up 13pc on 2021.

CRH’s Ebitda margin was up 10 basis points to 17.2pc, despite cost increases. Group sales rose 12pc across the year to $32.7bn.

Profit after tax rose 10pc to $2.7bn.