RNS Number : 7685W
28 April 2021
Trading Update - April 2021
-- Positive start to the year with Q1 like-for-like sales +3%
-- Good underlying demand & continued pricing progress across key markets
-- Year-to-date acquisition spend $0.2bn; strong pipeline of opportunities
-- $0.2bn divestment of Brazil cement business complete
-- Share buyback programme ongoing; $0.3bn tranche to be completed by end of June
-- H1 Group EBITDA expected to be well ahead of prior year
Albert Manifold, Chief Executive, said today:
"We had a positive start to the year in a seasonally quiet
period for our business with good underlying demand and pricing
progress across our key markets. While near-term uncertainties
remain, we expect first-half profitability to be well ahead of the
prior year period which experienced a heavily disrupted second
quarter due to COVID-19. As we look ahead to the second half of the
year, we expect further normalisation in our markets as the health
situation continues to improve."
Announced Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Health & Safety
The health and safety of our people remains our number one
priority as many of our markets continue to be affected by the
spread of COVID-19. Our primary focus is to ensure that we provide
a safe working environment for our employees, contractors and
customers, enabling them to carry out their activities in
accordance with the various health and safety protocols currently
in place across our markets.
First quarter like-for-like(1) sales increased by 3% compared
with the same period last year as a particularly strong performance
in Building Products was partly offset by weather disruption in our
materials businesses in North America and Europe.
Like-for-like sales for our Americas Materials operations were
1% behind 2020, as the impact of harsh winter weather conditions on
volumes during February was partly offset by strong commercial
management. The bidding environment remains stable while there is
positive momentum on infrastructure stimulus efforts. This notably
seasonal business typically sells less than 10% of annual asphalt
volumes and less than 20% of aggregates, readymixed concrete and
cement volumes in the first quarter of the year.
Key Products in Brief
-- Aggregates: Q1 like-for-like aggregates volumes were 4%
behind 2020 impacted by adverse weather conditions; average
year-to-date prices increased by 3%.
-- Asphalt: Unfavourable weather resulted in volumes 6% behind
on a like-for-like basis; average prices were 3% behind, however
margins increased due to lower input costs.
-- Readymixed Concrete: Volumes were 2% ahead on a like-for-like
basis, driven by strong demand across most regions; average prices
were 5% ahead with increases across all regions.
-- Cement: Q1 like-for-like volumes were 5% ahead of 2020 with
strong demand in our West region; prices were 4% ahead with good
momentum in both the United States (US) and Canada.
Like-for-like sales were 1% ahead of 2020, as challenging
weather at the start of the year was offset with improved trading
in March. The pricing environment remained favourable.
Key Markets in Brief
-- Western Europe: Overall Q1 like-for-like sales were broadly
in line with 2020 with mixed performances regionally. Sales in the
United Kingdom were ahead with strong volumes across most lines of
business, supported by good demand in the infrastructure and
residential sectors. In France, cement volumes were well ahead of
the prior year which was impacted by COVID-19 related shutdowns.
Adverse weather impacted activity levels in Finland and Germany
while COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland resulted in lower cement
volumes than prior year. Pricing progress continued.
-- Eastern Europe: Q1 like-for-like sales were behind prior year
as harsh winter weather impacted volumes in Poland which was partly
offset by resilient demand in North Danube and Serbia; overall
cement pricing was ahead.
-- Asia: Strong cement volumes in Q1 were partly offset by lower
prices, resulting in increased sales compared to 2020.
1 Like-for-like movements exclude the impact of currency exchange, acquisitions and divestments
First quarter like-for-like sales were 12% ahead of 2020,
reflecting strong demand for residential construction, particularly
in North America, partly offset by lower activity levels in the
Key Products in Brief
-- Architectural Products: Like-for-like sales were 27% ahead
supported by strong underlying demand for outdoor living products
and good early season purchasing by homecenters in the US.
-- Building Envelope: Like-for-like sales were 5% behind Q1 2020
as a result of reduced non-residential activity due to COVID-19
related uncertainty and lower backlogs entering 2021.
-- Infrastructure Products: Like-for-like sales were 3% ahead as
good demand in both the European and North American telecoms and
energy sectors was partly offset by adverse weather.
-- Construction Accessories: Stronger residential demand, more
project work and fewer pandemic restrictions in key markets
resulted in like-for-like sales 3% ahead.
Capital Allocation Update
Share Buyback Programme
As announced on 8 March 2021, reflecting our strong financial
position and commitment to returning excess cash to shareholders,
the Group recommenced its share buyback programme with a further
tranche of $0.3 billion to be completed no later than 24 June
The Group has spent c. $0.2 billion on four acquisitions in the
year to date, the largest of which was a Building Products pipe and
precast concrete business, expanding our Infrastructure Products
footprint in the Midwest of the US.
On the divestment front, the Group completed the divestment of
its Brazil cement business for consideration of $0.2 billion, as
well as two smaller transactions resulting in total business and
asset disposal proceeds of c. $0.3 billion.
Despite near-term uncertainties, we expect Group EBITDA for the
seasonally less significant first half of the year to be well ahead
of the first half of 2020 which was adversely impacted by COVID-19
related disruption in the second quarter (H1 2020: $1.59 billion).
We anticipate further normalisation in our markets in the second
half of the year as the health situation continues to improve.
Given the resilience of our business model and strength of our
balance sheet we remain well positioned to benefit from the growth
opportunities that lie ahead.
CRH will report its interim results for the six months ending 30
June on Thursday, 26 August 2021.
CRH plc will host an analysts' conference call at 14:00 BST on
Wednesday, 28 April 2021 to discuss the Trading Update. To join
this call please dial: +353 (0) 1 506 0650, confirmation code
7465477 (further international numbers are available here ). A
recording of the conference call will be available on the Results
& Presentations page of the CRH website.
Contact CRH at +353 1 404 1000
Albert Manifold Chief Executive
Senan Murphy Finance Director
Jim Mintern Finance Director Designate
Frank Heisterkamp Director of Capital Markets & ESG
Tom Holmes Head of Investor Relations
CRH (LSE: CRH, ISE: CRG, NYSE: CRH) is the leading building
materials business in the world, employing c.77,000 people at
c.3,100 operating locations in 29 countries. It is the largest
building materials business in North America and Europe and also
has regional positions in Asia. CRH manufactures and supplies a
range of integrated building materials, products and innovative
solutions which can be found throughout the built environment, from
major public infrastructure projects to commercial buildings and
residential structures. A Fortune 500 company, CRH is a constituent
member of the FTSE 100 Index, the EURO STOXX 50 Index, the ISEQ 20
and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) Europe. CRH's
American Depositary Shares are listed on the NYSE.
For more information visit www.crh.com
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A number of material factors could cause actual results and
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by these forward-looking statements, certain of which are beyond
our control, as detailed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in
our 2020 Annual Report on Form 20-F as filed with the US Securities
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 28, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)