Irish materials firm CRH made up for a poor performance in Europe with strong American results. It ended the first half of the year with pre-tax profit of £261m, 20% up on the £217m it made in the same period last year.

Turnover rose 13% to £4.3bn from £3.8bn in the six months to 30 June 2005. Total European operating profit, including acquisitions, grew just 2% to £188m, in sharp contrast to a jump of 68% to £114m in US operating profits .

Liam O’Mahony, CRH’s chief executive, said: “CRH has had a strong first-half profit outcome with good organic growth from the Americas significantly outweighing a decline in Europe, and a satisfactory incremental contribution from 2004 and 2005 acquisitions.”

CRH said it expected to benefit from strong markets in the USA during the second half with a focus on keeping costs low to offset rising energy costs. Demand for materials in the Irish market is strong and an improved performance is expected.

Good organic growth in the Americas has outweighed a decline in Europe

Liam O’Mahony, chief executive

In a statement, the company said: “Our US operations have performed strongly and this, combined with contributions from 2004 and 2005 acquisitions, has resulted in a strong increase in sales and profits, despite subdued markets in Europe.”