Building materials firm spends £500m in bolt-in acquisitions in last six months

Building materials firm CRH has revealed more than £500m of bolt-on acquisitions made in the second half of 2007.

The news comes as the group released a trading update anticipating profits to have risen last year to €1.9bn (£1.41bn), up from €1.6bn (£1.19bn) in 2006.

CRH spent €693 (£516m) on 37 bolt-on acquisitions during the last six months, on top of the €101m (£75m) it spent in August buying full ownership of Dutch aggregates firm Cementbouw.

The 37 purchases in Europe and America bring CRH’s total full year acquisition spend in 2007 to €2.2bn (£1.65bn).

The bulk of the group’s spending was in the American product and distribution sector, in which it spent €348m (£260m) on 10 acquisitions.

It also spent €199m (£148m) on products and distribution companies in Europe, including the UK purchases of construction accessories wholesaler Forsite and fencing contractor West Midland Fencing.

As a result, the company expects to post a strong set of results for 2007, with European profits set to hit €1.1bn (£821m), up from €814m (£607m) in 2006.

The company is due to announce its preliminary results for 2007 in early March.