Saturday 16 December 2017

CRH shares static as takeover talk cools down

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Shares in CRH were largely unchanged after analysts dismissed speculation that the Irish aggregates giant is being circled by potential buyers, including Swiss peer Holcim.

A UK newspaper report suggested a £19 (€23.50) a share deal was being readied by a potential buyer of CRH and that either Holcim or state-owned China National Materials Group could be one of the firms interested.

But Davy Stockbrokers yesterday pointed out that Holcim has pulled back significantly from M&A activity and that a potential purchase of CRH is "very unlikely".

Shares in CRH – whose primary listing is in London – barely moved in early trading. That suggested investors have dismissed the takeover rumour. Shares in Holcim had hardly changed by lunchtime in Zurich. CRH said it never comments on speculation.

On Monday, the company held a capital markets day for investors in New York having held one in London last Friday. It set out its growth strategy and detailed challenges and opportunities in European and US markets.

The company noted that in the US, a country which accounts for about half its business, that aggregate and asphalt volumes last year were at 1995 levels.

In Ireland, cement consumption per capita is down at a figure not seen since before 1980 while in the Netherlands – one of CRH's most important markets – house completions are 30pc lower than in 2009.

Irish Independent

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