In 2014, the Group reorganised its European business by integrating its former Materials Division with the concrete and clay businesses of the former Products Division into one Heavyside organisation. The purpose of this reorganisation was to enable CRH to maximise the benefits and synergies of our operating plant network in both Western and Eastern European markets.
Europe Heavyside’s strategy is to build leading regional positions in businesses that are vertically integrated and which have the potential to grow further in the large European construction markets. We deliver our strategy through a focus on a balanced exposure to demand, product penetration and on maximising the benefits of scale and best practice. Our business is differentiated and achieves competitive advantage through a commitment to constant product, process and end-use improvement.
Europe Heavyside is organised into two regional divisions. Western Europe comprises our cement, aggregates, asphalt and concrete operations Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Eastern Europe includes our cement, aggregates, asphalt and concrete businesses in the Baltics, Finland, Poland, Ukraine and now also some new operations in Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. The business model of vertical integration is founded in resource-backed cement and aggregates assets, which support the manufacture and supply of cement, aggregates, readymixed and precast concrete, concrete landscaping and asphalt products. Consequently, a key focus for the Heavyside division is the ongoing process of extending and adding to reserves. We operate a network of well-invested facilities and place great emphasis on excellence initiatives across the business. CRH’s approach to Building Better Businesses ensures a focus on achieving greater production efficiencies and realising operational, logistical and procurement synergies across our network. A commitment to a sustainable future results in greater use of alternative fuels and the manufacture of low carbon cements.
Our development focus is centred on bolt-on acquisitions for synergies, reserves and further vertical integration, in addition to opportunities in contiguous regions to extend and strengthen regional positions; this includes developing markets in Eastern Europe that offer long-term growth potential, with entry via cement and aggregates assets and the potential to roll out operational excellence programmes and a vertical integration approach over time. The addition of cement and aggregates assets from Lafarge-Holcim to our operations in Western and Eastern Europe is an example of this strategy in action.
In 2014, Europe Heavyside employed approximately 19,100 people at close to 800 locations in 21 countries, and we now welcome 10,500 new employees from close to 600 locations to our group as at August 2015.
CRH in Asia
CRH has a number of strategic footholds in Asia, following the establishment of entry platforms in China and India over the last seven years. Our strategy is to build select leading regional positions to enable us to benefit from industrialisation, urbanisation and population growth in these developing economies over the coming decades.
The Group has a 26% stake in associate Yatai Building Materials, which is a market leader in building materials in Northeast China. In India, we have a 50% joint venture with My Home Industries Limited which is a leading player in the southern state of Andra Pradesh.
In October 2013, we opened a regional headquarters in Singapore. The Group’s equity accounted operations in China and India employ circa 12,000 people.