Materials giant’s interim profit rises 37% to £355m despite ‘slower pace’ of US economy

Pre-tax profits shot up 37% at building materials group CRH for the first six months to £355m buoyed by strong performance in its European and American operations and recent acquisitions

The strong results come despite CRH chief executive Liam O'Mahony warning that there was some statistical evidence of a 'slower pace' of US economic growth.

Sales revenue grew 27% for the first six months to 30 June up to £5.4bn from £4.2bnm Operating profit jumped from £300m to £414m, a rise of 38%.

Total operating profit from European operations, including acquisition contributions, grew by 19% to £223m.Total operating profit for the Americas operations increased by 68% to £190m.

Last year CRH made 30 acquisitions. The company is set to get even bigger as last week it announced it was buy Ashland Paving and Construction for £685m, representing its biggest ever transaction.

O’Mahony said: “The current business outlook is on the whole positive despite some statistical evidence of a slower pace of US economic growth.”

“CRH has had a particularly good start to the year; our ongoing focus on the recovery of higher input costs is showing good success and we have delivered record development activity over the past twelve months.”

“While as always risks remain, especially in light of recent international developments, we expect good profit growth in the more significant second half and a healthy advance for 2006 as a whole."