Tuesday, February 26 12:34:13
The ISEQ dipped in to negative territory this morning but strong gains by CRH and Kerry, both of which posted strong earnings results, limited the index's decline.
By 12:30, the ISEQ was down 1.12 points to 3,707.65.
Full year 2012 profits at Ireland's biggest company, CRH, came in at least 2pc ahead of analysts' expectations with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of E1.6 billion.
Sales revenues rose by 3pc to E18.659 billion reflecting what chief executive, Myles Lee, said was progress from CRH's Americas operations helped by a strong recovery in residential construction and improving overall economic activity in the United States. In contrast, its European businesses had to contend with weakening consumer and investor confidence within the Eurozone. Operating profits fell by 3pc to E845 million, after combined restructuring and impairment charges of E88 million. Profit before tax declined by 5pc to E674 million, with an earnings per share of 76.5 cent. CRH's stocks rose 16c to E16.38.
Shares in Kerry Group climbed 36c to E41.55 after it said its restructuring programme would allow earnings growth to remain steady in 2013, despite a stronger euro and higher raw material costs squeezing margins in the first two months of the year. Ireland's third-biggest listed company said today adjusted earnings per share rose 11.3 percent to 2.37 euros in 2012, at the top end its own forecast range and ahead of an average estimate of 10.1 percent growth. The company, which makes Wall's sausages and Cheesestrings snacks, said it expected EPS growth of between 7 and 11 percent in 2013, slightly ahead of its forecast at the same time in 2012. "There is uncertainty about consumer demand, costs on the raw material front (and) currencies are pretty negative at this point," Chief Financial officer Brian Mehigan said. "But we're pretty confident going into 2013 about continuing our performance."
DCC shares fell 11c to E26.70 after it said today that it plans to de-list from the ISSEQ in favour of London.