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CRH builds profits 33% and raises dividend

CRH, the building materials group based in Dublin, reported a strong improvement in 1993 as pre-tax profits rose 33 per cent to Ir pounds 76.5m ( pounds 75m.) Dividends are up 11 per cent to 7.32p with a 14 per cent increase in the final to 4.96p, writes Terence Wilkinson.

Tony Barry, chief executive, said yesterday that he expected the group, which operates in the Republic of Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe and the US, to show a further improvement in results in 1994.

'While continuing difficult trading conditions are expected in Spain and a further slight decline in construction activity is forecast for the Netherlands, construction activity in Ireland, the UK and the US is expected to show an increase on 1993 levels.'

He said that little improvement in overall demand in the UK was seen until late in the year, when there were tentative signs of recovery.

Housebuilding showed a more sustained recovery and infrastructure and other public investment continued at a reasonable level, but industrial and commercial demand was again down on a very low base.