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CRH back in after-tax profit in 1st half

Tuesday, August 19 10:05:32

Irish building supplies multinational CRH said today it returned to profit after tax in the first half on a strong performance in Europe.

It added that despite concerns about Ukraine, it was on track to hit earnings targets for the year.

Profit after tax rebounded to E61 million in the first six months from a loss of E71 million in the same period a year earlier, on sales of E8.3 billion.

Like-for-like sales were higher in Europe than in the United States in the first half, growing 6pc and 4pc respectively, it said in a statement.

"After the strong start in Europe we have seen an easing of trends in recent months ... while the uncertain political backdrop in Ukraine remains a cause for concern," the statement said.

"Against the backdrop of positive economic indicators... we expect the Americas overall to be ahead in the second half of 2014."

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 27pc higher at E505 million in the first six months compared to last year and were set to be "somewhat ahead" of last year in the second half.

Ukraine is one of CRH's main eastern European markets, accounting for E24 million of EBITDA in 2013.

The company, which said in February that it would sell at least 10pc of net assets in a portfolio review, said its divestment programme would likely be worth between E1.5 billion and E2 billion.

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