CRH in 'positive' start to 2019 as sales increase
Ireland’s largest company, CRH, has reported a “positive” start to 2019, with like-for-like sales up 7pc year-on-year in the three months to 31 March.
Sales volumes benefited from mild weather conditions and good momentum across most of the group’s major markets, CRH said in a trading update.
In addition, growth was supported by “pricing progress” across all major product lines.
Group earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the seasonally less significant first half of the year is expected to be in excess of €1.5bn, a mid-single digit percentage increase on a like-for-like basis compared to the first half of 2018. This also includes the benefit of currency exchange movements.
With normal weather patterns, like-for-like EBITDA in the second half of the year is also anticipated to be ahead of the second half of 2018.
The group said its Ash Grove acquisition, completed in June 2018, traded “in line with expectations” with synergy delivery progressing as planned.
So far this year CRH has spent around €200m on 16 bolt-on acquisitions and/or investments.
In addition, it reached agreement to divest of its European Shutters & Awnings business to StellaGroup for a total consideration in excess of €300m.
CHR said the strategic review of its Europe Distribution business is ongoing as it considers all options to maximise shareholder value.
Meanwhile the board is proposing to continue the group’s share buyback programme with a further tranche of up to €350m to be completed before the group's interim results announcement in August.