CRH’s spending spree for 2012 reaches £511m

IRISH building materials group CRH revealed yesterday it had made €630m (£511m) of acquisitions in 2012, its highest investment spend for four years.

Over the second half of last year, the FTSE 100 firm, which moved its primary listing to London last year, undertook 18 deals, with a value of €375m.

CRH’s Americas division made 12 acquisitions over the six months, worth a total of €256m.

The materials arm of the business acquired a majority share in New Jersey-based Trap Rock Industries, its largest individual transaction this year, which added between three and four per cent to CRH’s US permitted reserves.

Meanwhile, in its US architectural products division, CRH acquired seven concrete paving facilities in Canada and Florida.

CRH made six transactions in Europe at a value of €119m over the second half of the year, including a concrete products manufacturer in Finland and a cement importation business in the Isle of Man.

CRH chief executive Myles Lee said that the €0.6bn of development activity reflects the company’s “long-term, value-based” approach to developing its portfolio.

Analyst Aynsley Lammin at Citi said yesterday that the Dublin-based building materials group balance sheet remained “strong”, but until the macro outlook becomes more certain, there would not be a “huge step up in acquisition spend”.

Shares in CRH closed down 1.48 per cent yesterday at 1,264p, making it the biggest faller on the FTSE 100.