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CRH shares hit 12-year high after a strong third-quarter

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Momentum: CRH, headed by chief executive Albert Manifold, expects earnings jump in 2019

Momentum: CRH, headed by chief executive Albert Manifold, expects earnings jump in 2019

Momentum: CRH, headed by chief executive Albert Manifold, expects earnings jump in 2019

SHARES in Irish building materials giant CRH hit a 12-year high yesterday after it released a third- quarter trading update which showed it experienced strong momentum in its business during the period.

It told investors it is on track to deliver earnings of at least €4.15bn, including discontinued operations, which compares to €3.37bn in 2018.

Shares in CRH, Ireland's biggest company, rose 2.9pc to €35.06 in late trade, giving it a €27.8bn market capitalisation.

In the nine months to the end of September, its revenue was 4pc higher on a like-for-like basis, at €21.8bn, while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was 7pc higher at €3.2bn on a like-for-like basis.

CRH said that its operations in the US and Europe performed well in the third quarter.

"Third-quarter trading in our Americas materials division benefited from more favourable weather conditions than experienced in the first half of the year," it said. "We also experienced a continuation of positive trends in both Europe materials and building products."

In the United States, it said its materials operation had seen a 4pc lift in sales in the first nine months of 2019, "against a backdrop of solid underlying demand, healthy market fundamentals and pricing progress in all product lines".

In its key eastern and western European markets, CRH said its materials business saw good underlying activity in the first nine months of the year, with like-for-like sales up 6pc in the period, "aided by good pricing momentum and solid sales growth".

It added that its UK operation continued to see market disruption as a result of Brexit.

So far this year, CRH's building products division has completed 15 bolt-on acquisitions, at a cost of €420m. One of its largest acquisitions was the purchase this month of US-based Torrent Resource for €100m. The group's Americas materials division has completed 20 bolt-on deals in 2019, at a cost of about €200m.

Its Europe materials unit has completed seven deals worth a total of €35m. Last month, CRH completed the sale of its Europe distribution business to investment giant Blackstone for €1.64bn.

This month, Bloomberg said CRH is considering a sale of its Philippines cement business, with the operation likely to be valued at between $2bn and $3bn.

Irish Independent