Hanson chief executive Andrew Dougal says UK demand for building materials grew in June but that the market is still not as buoyant as the USA.

Dougal forecasts that US demand for aggregates may increase by as much as 15% over the next six years as a result of the US government’s TEA-21 programme to invest £216bn in infrastructure, including an estimated £155bn on new roads.

Reporting pre-tax profit up 11.4% before exceptionals to £122.2m, Dougal said the group had achieved price improvements and higher margins because it did not pursue low-margin, higher-volume work. But he added that he did not expect sharp increases in the price of materials.

Dougal also said that the group would continue to look for bolt-on acquisitions in the USA, Europe and the Far East.

The group spent £216m on acquisitions up to July this year; even more than the £196m it spent last year. Dougal expects to exceed £216m in the coming year.