Continued Profit Growth at CRH
Global building materials group CRH has reported another year of profit growth with margins and returns ahead in all its American and European Divisions. Sales at €27.6 billion were 2% ahead of 2016 and like-for-like sales were also up 2%. EBITDA rose by 6% to €3.3 billion and by 3% on a like-for-like basis. Group EBITDA margin at 12.0% was up from 11.5% in 2016.
Albert Manifold, Chief Executive, said: “2017 was a year of continued profit growth for CRH. We benefited from increases in underlying demand in the Americas and positive momentum in Europe, and with focus on performance improvement and operational delivery, margins and returns were ahead of last year in our American and European Divisions. Supported by strong operational cash generation, we continued to deliver value through efficient capital management. With a balanced portfolio of businesses CRH is well positioned to capitalise on ongoing economic recovery and our focus remains on consolidating and building upon the gains made in 2017. Against this backdrop, we believe that 2018 will be a year of continued growth for the group.”
In Europe, total sales were up 1% compared with 2016 and organic sales were 2% ahead due to continued recovery in key markets. Europe Heavyside’s outturn was positive, with a broad-based recovery in Ireland, France, Poland and Finland more than offsetting more subdued activity in Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK). Europe Lightside experienced a year of further progress as good performances in a number of our main markets resulted in sales finishing 3% ahead of 2016. The backdrop at Europe Distribution was stable as a strong contribution from the Netherlands together with solid demand in Belgium and Germany was partly offset by continued challenges in Switzerland. In Asia, economic growth and market fundamentals remained robust in the Philippines, with both residential and non-residential demand stable, though infrastructure investment was slower than expected and pricing remained very competitive. In India, a favourable economic backdrop continued to drive demand, while reduced construction activity in China had a negative impact on volumes but this was more than offset by stronger pricing. For 2017 as a whole, higher sales and good cost control supported improved profits and margins across the Group with EBITDA ahead 6%.
In 2017, CRH spent a total of €1.9 billion (including deferred and contingent consideration in respect of prior year acquisitions) on 34 acquisition/investment transactions compared to 24 in 2016. On the divestment front, the group realised business and asset disposal proceeds of €0.2 billion (€0.3 billion in 2016).
CRH is the second largest building materials company in the world. It is the largest building materials company in North America, a regional leader in Europe and has a growing presence in the Asian economies of India, China and the Philippines. CRH employs over 87,000 people across 3,800 locations in 31 countries worldwide.