CRH to pay 45m pounds for US aggregate companies

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The Independent Online
CRH, the acquisitive Irish building materials company, has used another slice of the Ir pounds 147m ( pounds 148.5m) it raised in a rights issue last year to buy four aggregates businesses in the US, writes Tom Stevenson.

Analysts said the deals were well-priced, with no goodwill included in the Ir pounds 44.3m ( pounds 44.7m) consideration for operations in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

They made operating profits of dollars 5.2m ( pounds 3.5m) last year from sales of dollars 86.4m. The 200 million tonnes of reserves add to CRH's existing stock of 1 billion. The acquisitions last year produced 1.4 million tonnes of aggregate and 1.5 million tonnes of asphalt and take CRH's US turnover to more than dollars 300m.

Last year the group made a one-for-five rights issue but spent only about a fifth of the proceeds on two concrete companies in the US. The rest was used to cut borrowings, expected to end the year at 15 per cent of shareholders' funds.

In the year to December, CRH announced a 33 per cent rise in pre-tax profits after increases in building activity in Ireland, Britain and the US.

Another Irish construction company, the housebuilder Abbey, announced pre-tax profits up from Ir pounds 2.1m to Ir pounds 8.1m for the year to April and a more than doubled dividend of Ir5p (Ir2p). The UK operation benefited from a strong South-east.

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