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ISEQ powers ahead led by CRH, Kerry

Tuesday, February 25 17:37:51

The ISEQ powered ahead by nearly 2pc today to its highest level since 2009 after both CRH and Kerry Group posted full year earnings reports.

The index closed up 96.47 points to 5,150.66.

Shares in CRH surged 144c to E21.82 after it said 2013 should represent the trough in its profits as the construction market in the United States improves and the European economy stabilises. After an unusually long period of bad weather led to a sharp fall in first-half earnings, CRH said today revenue rose 2 percent in the second half of the year, with a smaller decline in Europe boosted by a 5 percent increase in the United States. Full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to 1.48 billion euros, ahead of guidance given in November, the Dublin-based group said. "We believe that 2013 represents the trough in our profits, and that 2014 will be a year of profit growth," said chief executive Albert Manifold, who took over last month following the retirement of Myles Lee. "We are encouraged by second-half activity levels in 2013 and by the fact that, while it is still early in the season, trading so far in 2014 has been ahead of last year."

Kerry's stocks climbed 103c to E53.06 after it reported increased trading profits for 2013 after what it called a "solid financial performance". Kerry said its trading profits rose by 9.4pc to E611.4m from E559m in 2012, but pre-tax profits fell to E121.9m from E315.5m the previous year. Revenues for the year dipped slightly to E5.836 billion from E5.848 billion. The company said that continuing business volumes during the year rose by 3pc and pricing rose by 1.6pc, which broadly offset input cost inflation of about 4pc. The Kerry board said it was recommending a final dividend of 28 cent per share, up 12pc on the final dividend in 2012. Along with the interim dividend of 12 cent per share, this brings the total dividend for the year to 40 cent, up 11.7pc on 2012.