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2003 results - year ended 31st December 2003

02 March 2004

2003
euro m
2002
euro m
% change in 2003
Reported
% change in 2003
In constant
currency **
Sales 11,080 10,794 +3% +15%
Operating profit * 1,045 1,048 - % +12%
Profit before tax 864 856 +1% +12%

2003
euro cent
2002
euro cent
% change in 2003
Reported
% change in 2003
In constant
currency **
Earnings per share -before goodwill 136.2 132.5 +3% +13%
Earnings per share - after goodwill 121.9 119.2 +2% +13%
Cash earnings per share 223.4 219.8 +2% +13%
Dividend per share 28.1 25.4 +11% +11%

* Including share of joint ventures and associates but before goodwill amortisation and profit on sale of fixed assets.

** These percentages compare 2003 results with 2002 figures restated at average 2003 exchange rates.

  • Record results in 2003 despite adverse currency translation effect.
  • Total 2003 construction output in Ireland was similar to 2002. Sales increased by 2% while operating profit of euro 130 million was broadly in line with 2002 levels.
  • Operating profit in Britain and Northern Ireland increased by 13% in local currency terms, while reported profit of euro 57 million was 3% ahead of last year.
  • In Mainland Europe, construction output remained relatively flat in most markets other than Spain, which continued to grow strongly. In the Materials Division, operating profits rose by 6% to euro 133 million. Profits for the legacy Products & Distribution businesses improved and, with the benefit of significant current and prior year acquisition activity, operating profits increased by 55% to euro 166 million.
  • In the Americas Materials Division, improved pricing and the incremental impact of 2002 and 2003 acquisitions offset the combined effect of continued high energy costs and record wet weather in key regions to give operating profit up 4% in US Dollar terms. With the benefit of significant acquisitions, the Products & Distribution Division achieved a 10% increase in US Dollar operating profits in spite of the wet spring and a weak commercial construction sector. While overall results for the Americas were 7% ahead in US Dollar terms, operating profits translated into euro were adversely affected by a 16% strengthening of the euro versus the US Dollar, and at euro 559 million were 11% lower than 2002.
  • Total acquisition and investment activity spend amounted to euro 1.6 billion on 41 deals, matching the record spend in 2000.

Liam O’Mahony, Chief Executive, said today:

“In 2003 the CRH team worldwide responded strongly to tough and changing circumstances and again delivered performance and growth. Group profits advanced for the eleventh consecutive year. While risks and uncertainties remain and economic growth in Europe is generally subdued, the economy in the US is recovering and we are poised to move forward as markets improve. We continue to focus relentlessly on cost effectiveness and operational performance and, although reported 2004 profits are likely to be impacted by the weakness of the US Dollar, 2003 acquisitions should contribute strongly. Our acquisition programme and overall strategy continue to deliver and with robust cash flow and comfortable interest cover we have substantial capacity to capitalise on opportunities as they arise. We face 2004 with confidence.”

Announced Tuesday, 2nd March 2004

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