Hanson managed to weather the fall-out from the slump in the US housebuilding market to post a strong set of results.

Pre-tax profit at the materials group, which has its headquarters in London, rose 12% to £481m on the back of a 11.2% rise in turnover for the year ending 31 December.

The company does half its business in the US but the effect of the downturn in housing was countered by robust demand in the American industrial, infrastructure and commercial sectors.

The firm’s US aggregates business was particularly strong, with operating performance rising 31% to £114m.

Hanson spent £558m on 16 acquisitions last year, which added £48m to operating profit.

Trading was difficult in the domestic market. The UK building products division found conditions tough because of weak brick demand in the repair and maintenance market.

Alan Murray, the chief executive, said: “We have maintained earnings growth momentum. Recent acquisitions are performing well and our selling price discipline has been maintained. We expect further progress in 2007.”