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2004 interim results- six months ended 30th June 2004

31 August 2004

2004
euro m
2003
euro m
% change
Sales 5,670 4,661 +22%
Operating profit * 385 245 +57%
Profit before tax 275 161 +71%
2004
euro cent
2003
euro cent
% change
Earnings per share - before goodwill amortisation 47.3 28.9 +64%
Earnings per share - after goodwill amortisation 38.1 22.2 +72%
Cash earnings per share 93.1 70.0 +33%
Dividend 9.6 8.2 +17%

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

  • In the Republic of Ireland, residential construction grew strongly with increases in cement, concrete blocks, readymixed concrete and blacktop volumes, although prices failed to compensate for cost increases. While margins declined profits were similar at euro 68 million.
  • In Britain and Northern Ireland, underlying organic profit improvements combined with a slight strengthening of Sterling resulted in an 8% first half operating profit advance to euro 32 million.
  • In Mainland Europe, more normal weather conditions than in 2003 resulted in a much better demand backdrop for our Materials Division with a particularly strong organic performance contributing to a 91% increase in operating profit to euro 63 million. The Products & Distribution Division continued to experience subdued markets but benefited from internal improvements and strong contributions from the record 2003 development spend delivering a 124% increase in operating profits to euro 121 million.
  • Against a background of higher energy input costs overall early season activity in the Americas Materials Division was broadly in line with expectations and the traditional first half trading loss declined from euro 39 million to euro 31 million. The Products & Distribution Division had a very strong first half with residential construction continuing at a good level and ongoing evidence of a recovering non-residential construction sector. Despite an adverse translation impact this Division delivered a 33% increase in operating profit to euro 132 million.
  • Overall, currency translation effects, principally arising from the strength of the euro versus the US Dollar, had a euro 4 million adverse impact at profit before tax level in the period.
  • The interim dividend has been increased by 17%, the 21st consecutive year of dividend increase.
  • Total acquisition and investment spend amounted to euro 700 million on 21 deals.

Liam O’Mahony, Chief Executive, said today:

“CRH has had a particularly strong first half with a good organic bounce back from weather depressed 2003, significant incremental contributions from acquisitions and only a modest adverse profit translation impact due to seasonally low first half US Dollar operating profits.

Second half performance will be affected by continuing high world energy prices and rising input costs, a lower incremental acquisition impact than in the first half and, at current exchange rates, an adverse translation impact of approximately euro 26 million at profit before tax level compared with 2003. However, markets are on balance better and with improved activity across much of our business we expect to deliver a healthy full year profit advance.

With the improved trading outlook the Board has decided that a higher ongoing annual dividend increase is appropriate and accordingly has decided to raise the interim dividend by 17% making 2004 the 21st consecutive year of dividend increase."

Announced Tuesday, 31st August 2004

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