In an interim management statement ahead of its AGM, the company said like-for-like sales for the four months to the end of April were 6% ahead of 2010. CRH added that it currently expects like-for-like sales for the first half of 2011 to be ahead of last year.
In its Europe Materials business, CRH said its operations in those European countries experiencing austerity measures – Ireland, Portugal and Spain – continue to face very challenging market conditions.
But, it noted more positive trends in construction activity in its more stable developed markets in Switzerland and Finland. Demand is also picking up well in Poland and the developing economies.
Activity in its Europe Products division has benefited from milder winter conditions and generally improved demand, with underlying sales for the first four months of 2011 12% ahead of last year.
Its Europe Distribution business saw underlying sales increase by 7% compared to the same time last year.
CRH said that its US operations have seen a like-for-like increase of 3% in sales so far this year. "Assuming relatively normal weather patterns through May and June, we expect half year sales and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to be ahead of 2010", the company stated.
CRH said that it has completed 13 acquisitions and investments – worth 135m euros so far this year. It is also in the process of selling the majority of its European insulation business and its European climate control businesses.