Irish materials firm reports reports 20% increase in pre-tax profit, despite decline in European results.

Irish materials firm CRH made up for a poor performance in Europe with strong US results, ending the first half of the year with an overall 20% increase to £261m in pre-tax profits, up from £217m for the same period last year.

Turnover rose by 13% to £4.3 bn from £3.8 bn in the six months to June 30 2004. Total European operating profit, including acquisitions, grew by just 2% to £188m, in sharp contrast to the US’ operating profits jump of 68% to £114m.

Liam O'Mahony, CRH chief executive, said: “'CRH has had a strong first half profit outcome with good organic growth from the Americas significantly outweighing a decline in Europe, and a satisfactory incremental contribution from 2004 and 2005 acquisitions."

CRH said it expected to benefit from strong markets in the USA during the second half with a focus on keeping costs low to offset rising energy costs. Demand for materials in the Irish market is strong and an improved performance is expected.