Interim figures likely to be echoed in full-year results, driven by weaker dollar and flagging Western markets

Irish building materials firm CRH said today that first-half profit had fallen 10%, driven down by a weaker dollar and flagging markets in North America and Europe.

The group, which is the world's second-biggest maker and distributor of building materials, posted pre-tax profit of €606m (£483m) for the six months to 30 June 2008, down from €670m (£534m) last year.

Revenue increased slightly to €9.70bn (£7.73bn), from €9.69bn (£7.72m) the previous year.

The firm said it expected to see a similar decline in profits in its full-year results.

Liam O'Mahony, chief executive officer, said: “Following 15 years of consecutive growth and a record performance in 2007, more difficult trading conditions and a weaker US dollar will, as previously indicated, result in a lower outcome for 2008.

“The percentage decline in full-year profit before tax is expected to be broadly similar to that reported for the first six months.”

O'Mahony has previously said that the Irish company, which cut 1,000 jobs in the US in 2007, will make further moves to reduce costs this year as the housing markets worsen.