Materials company says growth in infrastructure markets only partially offset decline in other sectors

Pre-tax profits at concrete manufacturer CRH fell by more than half in 2009 according to full-year results announced today.

Profits were down 55% to £664m on revenues of £15.8bn, a fall of 17%. However the firm said the second half of the year had been slightly stronger than predicted, and it had managed to reduce its net debt from £5.53bn to £3.35bn at the same time.

The firm said it expected continued difficult trading conditions across all non-residential markets, which hadn’t been helped by prolonged poor weather at the start of the year.

Myles Lee, chief executive, said: "Residential and non-residential markets declined during 2009 in both Europe and the US, with government-funded infrastructure investment only partially compensating."

"The significant adjustments to our cost base achieved over the past three years and our ongoing restructuring measures, together with our substantial balance sheet capacity, have strengthened the group operationally and position CRH well to avail of value-enhancing acquisition opportunities as these arise across our markets."