Materials firm announces increase in UK profits despite full in volumes at Ibstock.

Dublin-based materials manufacturer CRH has announced that pre-tax profit for 2004 will rise 15% to £705.9m.

CRH said that operating profits in the UK would show an increase on 2003 levels despite a slight fall in volumes at its Ibstock brick division.

The firm said in a trading statement that demand for concrete products increased thanks to a robust performance from its masonry division, and that major security projects had helped push up demand for its fencing products.

The company said that overall it had achieved good full year organic growth and there had been a significant contribution from acquisitions.

Results for the second half of 2004 were affected by higher world energy prices and rising input costs, and the weakening of the US dollar.