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UPDATE 1-Irish building materials supplier CRH to withdraw from Russia

(Adds detail, Ukraine, full year results)

DUBLIN, March 3 (Reuters) - Ireland’s CRH will cease operating what it described as “infinitesimally small” Russian operations and has temporarily shut its much larger plants in Ukraine, the world’s second-biggest building materials supplier said on Thursday.

CEO Albert Manifold told Reuters the investment in concrete panel and readymixed plants in Saint Petersburg would barely stretch to 1.5 or 2 million euros and a withdrawal from the Russian market was on its radar anyway.

The Dublin-based group - the biggest producer of asphalt for highway construction in the United States - reported 2021 full-year core earnings of $5.35 billion on Thursday, up 11% on a like-for-like basis.

In November it had forecast earnings of more than $5.25 billion.

“We have infinitesimally small businesses in Saint Petersburg, literally 4 or 5 machines in individual plants. It was just a satellite office,” Manifold said in a telephone interview.

Companies around the world have taken action to limit, put on hold or exit business activities in Russia following a wave of sanctions imposed after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. CRH said it made its decision to exit last weekend.

Manifold said CRH had locked up its Ukrainian operations, which contributed 1% to its $31 billion of revenue last year and is supporting its 820 employees in any way it can.

The world’s largest buyer of cement said order books were up year on year across all products so far in 2022 and that it is well positioned for another year of progress. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely)

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