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CRH Plc H1 Pre-tax Profit Climbs On Strong Sales; Sees Progress In H2

Building materials group CRH Plc (CRH,CRH.L) reported Thursday that its first-half profit before tax climbed to 707 million euros from last year's 497 million euros.

Attributable Profit was 548 million euros or 67.4 euro cents for the first half. The prior year's profit was 1.46 billion euros or 173.1 euro cents per share including profit from discontinued operations of 1.08 billion euros.

On a continuing operations basis, the prior year's profit was 378 million euros or 44.8 euro cents per share.

EBITDA for the period climbed 36 percent to 1.54 billion euros, while the growth was 19% excluding IFRS 16 Leases. EBITDA margin improved 220 basis points to 11.7 percent.

Sales revenue increased 11 percent to 13.22 billion euros from last year's 11.94 billion euros with good performance in heritage business and strong contributions from recent acquisitions. The company recorded positive underlying demand backdrop in both Europe and North America.

Further, the Board has decided to increase the interim dividend by 2 percent to 20 cents per share.

The Board also plans to continue share buyback programme with a further tranche of 350 million euros to be completed by year end. This will bring total share repurchases in 2019 to 900 million euros.

Looking ahead, Albert Manifold, Chief Executive, said, "With our continued strong cash generation and financial discipline, we expect year-end debt metrics to be below normalised levels. We anticipate further progress in the second half of the year with benefits from positive underlying momentum in all Divisions as well as good contributions from acquisitions."

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