CRH posts record H1 earnings amid solid demand in Europe, N America
Building materials group CRH posted record first-half earnings on Thursday and said it expects to buy back a further €350m in shares by the end of the year.
In the six months to the end of June, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 36% to €1.5bn, with revenue up 11% to €13.2bn as the company's improvement programme bore fruit. Pre-tax profit during the half rose to €707m from €497m in the first half of last year.
CRH said it benefited from a positive underlying demand backdrop in Europe and North America, with strong contributions from acquisitions and tailwinds from currency exchange movements.
The interim dividend was lifted by 2% to 20 cents a share.
Chief executive Albert Manifold said: "On the back of our strategic initiatives, CRH has delivered significant profit growth in the first half of 2019, with a good performance in our heritage business and strong contributions from recent acquisitions.
"We are pleased to report that the board plans to continue our share buyback programme with a further tranche of €350mm to be completed by year end. This will bring our total share repurchases in 2019 to €900m.
"With our continued strong cash generation and financial discipline, we expect year-end debt metrics to be below normalised levels. We anticipate further progress in the second half of the year with benefits from positive underlying momentum in all divisions as well as good contributions from acquisitions."