Irish building materials company CRH (LON:CRH) published it’s half year results this morning showing overall sales of €11.9 billion, 1 per cent ahead of 2017 with like-for-like sales ahead by 2 per cent. Pre-tax profits for the six months up to the end of June increased from EUR475 million for the same time last year to EUR497million.
CRH’s share price has not responded as favourably as it may have been hoped so far today. As of BST 10.54 shares are down 10 points (0.38%) to 2596.00, slightly underperforming compared with the overall performance of the benchmark index which is up 0.07 per cent 7579.51, a rise of 5.27 as of BST 10.35.
High energy prices subdue Asian performance
With sales in Europe up 1 per cent and sales in America up 3 per cent on last year, the only downside to the story up is the sales performance in Asia, which slumped 2 percent. This has been attributed to poor conditions in the Philippines during the first half of the year, stemming largely from increased energy costs.
CRH CEO Albert Manifold is quoted by Alliance News as saying: “We have had a good first half despite significant weather disruption in Europe and North America in the first quarter. Construction markets continued to recover and pricing gathered momentum in key European markets while there was solid volume and price growth against a positive economic backdrop in the Americas.” He continued to predict further EBTIDA growth in America and associated progress for the group.
In July, CRH sold the Benelux branch of the business, pushing share prices up, and unveiled plans to bring together American and European units of the company, aiming to boost profits by 2021.Then, in a press release on August 2nd, CRH plc announced that it has completed the first phase of its share buyback programme, returning €350 million of cash to shareholders. 11.4 million shares were repurchased between 2 May and 31 July 2018 on the London Stock Exchange at an average discount of 0.5 per cent to the volume weighted average price over the period.
Investors encouraged to ‘buy’
According to Reuters, analysts are recommending CRH shares as a ‘buy’, conveying confidence in predicted future growth.