DUBLIN Aug 19 Irish building supplies group CRH
said on Tuesday it returned to profit after tax in the
first half on a strong performance in Europe, adding that
despite concerns about Ukraine it was on track to hit earnings
targets for the year.
Profit after tax rebounded to 61 million euros ($81 million)
in the first six months from a loss of 71 million euros in the
same period a year earlier, on sales of 8.3 billion euros.
Like-for-like sales were higher in Europe than in the United
States in the first half, growing 6 percent and 4 percent
respectively, it said in a statement.
"After the strong start in Europe we have seen an easing of
trends in recent months ... while the uncertain political
backdrop in Ukraine remains a cause for concern," the statement
"Against the backdrop of positive economic indicators... we
expect the Americas overall to be ahead in the second half of
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) were 27 percent higher at 505 million
euros ($674 million) in the first six months compared to last
year and were set to be "somewhat ahead" of last year in the
Ukraine is one of CRH's main eastern European markets,
accounting for 24 million euros of EBITDA in 2013.
The company, which said in February that it would sell at
least 10 percent of net assets in a portfolio review, said its
divestment programme would likely be worth between 1.5 billion
and 2 billion euros.
(1 US dollar = 0.7491 euro)
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Keiron Henderson)