Ireland: Irish building materials supplier CRH has reported a loss before tax of 5% to Euro674m in 2012 from Euro711m in 2011. Chief executive Myles Lee pinned the blame on weakening consumer and investor confidence within the Eurozone, although this was tempered by the recovering US market.
The group's sales revenue rose by 3% to Euro18.7bn in 2012 from Euro18.1bn in 2011. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) remained flat at Euro1.64bn compared to Euro1.66bn.
By region, CRH's Europe Materials division, which includes cement production, saw its sales revenue fall by 10% from Euro2.99bn to Euro2.69bn. EBITDA fell by 7% to Euro405m from Euro 436m. However, CRH's cement production volumes increased in Ukraine by 32% due to a new cement plant and an acquisition in Odessa. Ireland and Spain only comprised 5% of the division's EBITDA. Ireland saw a 17% decline in cement volumes and CRH declined to present any data about Spain other than a 30% decline across 'all sectors.'
America Materials saw its sales revenue increase by 13% to Euro4.97bn from Euro4.40bn. EBITDA increased by 7% to Euro566m from Euro530m.
In its outlook CRH expects its American operations to make progress in 2013, fuelled by the continued recovery of the US economy. Its European forecasts suggest only modest growth at best for 2013. American improvements and further profit improvement initiatives are expected to outweigh continued trading pressures in Europe.