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CRH ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR YEAR ENDED DEC. 31, 1991

 CRH ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR YEAR ENDED DEC. 31, 1991
 DUBLIN, Ireland, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- CRH plc (ADRs - NASDAQ-NMS: CRHCY) today announced its results for 1991.
 Key Points
 -- Sales decreased 6 percent to 1,146 million Irish pounds from IR1,216 million Irish pounds.
 -- Trading profit declined 22 percent to 84 million pounds from 108 million pounds.
 -- Earnings per share were down 25 percent to 17.46p from 23.20p.
 -- Dividends per share increased 7.5 percent to 6.45p from 6.00p. The dividend was covered 2.7 times.
 -- The results reflect the trading difficulties experienced in the United Kingdom and the United States. However, the group's balanced geographic, product and sectoral spread alleviated the worst effects of these downturns. The contribution to trading profit from the group's operating regions was:
 Millions of Irish Pounds Percentage
 Republic of Ireland 36 43
 Britain & Northern Ireland 4 5
 Mainland Europe 30 36
 United States 14 16
 -- Positive cash flow resulted in a reduction of 41 million pounds in net debt.
 -- The debt ratio treating convertible capital bonds as:
 equity was 5 percent (1990 14 percent)
 borrowing was 37 percent (1990 51 percent)
 -- Cash balances were 386 million pounds at year end.
 -- Tony Barry, chief executive, said today: "All the indications are that the extremely difficult economic conditions experienced in 1991 will be repeated, and that 1992 will be as tough for us as 1991. However, management will continue its strong action to reduce costs, curb expenditure and maximize marketing efforts. The group is very well positioned to benefit from economic recoveries when they come."
 CRH issued the following statement:
 The directors report a pre-tax profit of 62,562,000 Irish pounds (1990 83,517,000 Irish pounds).
 Turnover amounted to 1,145,856,000 pounds (1990 1,216,033,000 pounds).
 Basic earnings per share amounted to 17.46p compared with 23.20p in the previous year, a decrease of 24.7 percent.
 Cash flow per share of 31.50p compared with 36.43p in 1990, a decrease of 13.5 percent.
 The Accounting Standards Board issued a directive in July 1991 that supplemental interest in relation to convertible capital bonds should be charged to the profit and loss account along with the servicing cost, regardless of the likelihood of conversion of the bonds. Consequently, these results reflect the provision for contingent supplemental interest and the 1990 results have been restated accordingly.
 The results reflect the difficulties experienced in two of our four major markets, the United States and the United Kingdom. However, our balanced geographic, product and sectoral spread alleviated the worst effects of these downturns.
 Dividends
 An interim dividend of 2.15p per share was paid in October 1991. A second interim dividend of 4.30p, in lieu of a final dividend, was paid in January 1992. The total dividend of 6.45p compares with 6.00p in 1990, an increase of 7.5 percent. The total dividend is covered 2.7 times.
 Acquisitions, Investments and Capital Expenditure
 Total expenditure on acquisitions and investments amounted to 33 million pounds, a significant reduction on 1990 levels reflecting a shift in management emphasis towards closer integration of recent acquisitions and rationalization of existing businesses. Capital expenditure at 28 million pounds (1990 50 million pounds) was also reduced as the group anticipated the downturn in construction activity in its various markets.
 Borrowings and Debt Ratio
 Borrowings net of cash and including convertible capital bonds totalled 143 million pounds at year-end compared with 184 million pounds at end 1990. The debt ratio, including convertible capital bonds, at 37 percent compared with 51 percent at end-1990.
 Treating the convertible capital bonds as shareholders' funds results in net debt of 27 million pounds (1990 68 million pounds) and a debt ratio of 5 percent (1990 14 percent).
 Cash balances at year-end amounted to 386 million pounds.
 Republic of Ireland
 Overall construction output declined by approximately 5 percent in 1991, reflecting the slowdown in the national economy which started in mid-1990. Proposed reforms of the EC Common Agricultural Policy led to a fall-off in agricultural investment. Commercial construction declined from record 1990 levels while private housing activity was weaker. The brightest spot was the continuing major road development program substantially supported by the EC Structural Fund. Against this background, demand for most products declined. Nevertheless, the continuation of strong cost containment measures put in place in previous years enabled our companies to compete very effectively and profits, although down on 1990, remained at satisfactory levels.
 Demand in the home market for cement-based products declined somewhat more than general construction. However, Irish Cement successfully maintained its position relative to importers. Northern Ireland cement demand was weaker and continued recession resulted in a significant decline in exports to Britain. With a weaker demand picture than in the past few years the benefits of our investment during the 1980's in modern cement manufacturing capacity stood us in good stead. Continued tight cost control enabled Irish Cement to achieve a good level of profitability.
 The Roadstone companies and John A. Wood were affected by the generally weaker demand in the housing, commercial and agricultural sectors. While significant investment continued in major road projects, timing factors led to delays in product draw-off. The overall reductions in volumes inevitably led to strong competitive pressures. While margins suffered, tight cost management mitigated the adverse effect on group profits.
 A decline in worldwide production of steel led to a fall in demand for Premier Periclase's seawater magnesia. Volumes reduced from record 1990 levels and profits were lower. The vertical shaft kilns installed in 1990 were successfully commissioned. We now produce large crystal magnesia which is a world leader in terms of quality.
 Britain and Northern Ireland
 1991 was a very difficult year for the construction materials sector in Britain. Overall construction output fell by about 10 percent. Declines were experienced throughout the country, with the South, Midlands and East Anglia being particularly hard hit. Cost containment measures initiated in 1990 limited the effects of the severe downturn. However, the large deterioration in trading conditions led to a very significant reduction in profits overall.
 The very low levels of activity in the housing and commercial markets resulted in reduced demand for the Forticrete Group's walling products. Its roofing products faced similar tough markets with volume declines in Hardrow slate and Anchor tile operations. A positive feature, however, was the completion of the development of the patented Anchorlite slate process. Sales of this light-weight slate alternative were particularly promising. Profits reduced. Demand for hollowcore concrete floor slab was well down in 1991 and we decided to cease operations at our Breton Warrington facility during the year. Full provision has been made in the results for associated write-offs.
 1991 was a year of consolidation and integration at Keyline Builders Merchants. Trading conditions were very difficult. While the South was most severely affected, business was depressed in most regions. Although our extensive branch network maintained its relative market position during the year, overall volume decreases and increased bad debts, together with reorganization and computerization costs, virtually wiped out 1991 profits.
 As in recent years, the T.B.F. Thompson group performed well in a Northern Ireland market less severely affected than Britain. While profits declined, they were still at a relatively satisfactory level. Blacktop operations in the Southeast of England performed well in tough markets. However, development activity at the Gravesend site was quieter in view of the depressed commercial property market.
 Mainland Europe
 The group had a successful 1991, almost matching the 1990 record profits, although conditions were tougher than in recent years. Economic growth slowed but remained positive in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. High interest rates squeezed demand for new housing in the Netherlands and Spain. During February, Northern Europe suffered the most severe winter weather in five years.
 Dutch building output declined by 1 percent, with new housing down 12 percent on 1990. Although profits declined, our Dutch businesses performed creditably in the circumstances. Van Neerbos traded well with profits matching the record level achieved in 1990. Lower demand for Heras fencing systems on the Dutch market was more than compensated by exports and by increased penetration of the high security sector both at home and abroad. The fall in new housing affected Verwo's concrete flooring division and, while the street paving division recovered after the poor weather in February, profits overall were lower than the previous year's record level. Although our Dutch Clay Products group also suffered from the decline in new housing, domestic volume reductions were compensated by exports and by marketing and cost efficiencies and good profits were achieved.
 The German construction industry was buoyant throughout 1991, although economic growth began to slow in the second half. Our joint- venture clay products group, AKA Ziegelwerke, performed strongly in 1991 and profits to date have exceeded our expectations.
 Growth in Spanish construction activity at 4 percent in 1991 was lower than in recent years. Our main markets -- infrastructure, civil engineering and non-residential construction -- were stronger, whereas new house construction remained in the doldrums. Readymixed concrete volumes grew in the Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona regions, offsetting declines in Gerona and Andalucia. Prices increased in line with inflation but cost pressures left margins slightly lower. Higher profits were earned by the quarry division. However, conditions in the precast market remained difficult. Profits were just below the 1990 level.
 United States
 Although our operations could not fully escape the impact of a third recessionary year in U.S. construction, product and sectoral diversity, combined with effective management action, cushioned the worst effects. To leverage our nationwide plant network we reorganized on a product line basis.
 The Precast and Pipe group had a record year. Utility Vault Company expanded sales of specialty precast concrete products to serve the growing telecommunications markets and a range of environmental products was successfully introduced. Amcor performed well in Utah and Idaho and Carder Concrete Products won major pipe contracts for the new Denver International Airport. Pipe and precast operations in the Carolinas had a satisfactory year. California pipe operations had another tough year in declining markets. We acquired Southeast Precast, a leading producer of telecommunications and environmental products based in Atlanta.
 The Architectural Products group maintained revenues through a near doubling of sales to the less cyclical DIY-RMI segment. Its national plant network makes it uniquely able to serve major home improvement/DIY stores. The Superlite joint venture based in Phoenix, Ariz., had a very successful year, profitably penetrating the Nevada and California markets.
 The Materials and Prestress group had a mixed 1991. While Callanan, in upstate New York, had another excellent year, Spancrete Northeast was impacted badly by the collapse of commercial construction. Our 50 percent related companies, Pike Industries, operating in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and Boorhem-Fields in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, reaped the benefits of the tough cost containment measures of recent years as their markets returned to modest profits.
 The Tempered Glass group also had mixed fortunes. General Glass and United Tempering Systems, acquired in 1990, both turned in good performances. HGF Industries, in which we have a 50 percent stake, had a difficult year.
 Outlook
 All the indications are that the extremely difficult economic conditions experienced in 1991 will be repeated and that 1992 will be as tough for us as 1991. However, management will continue its strong action to reduce costs, curb expenditure and maximize marketing efforts.
 The group is very well positioned to benefit from economic recoveries when they come.
 The annual general meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 1992.
 CRH plc
 Group Profit and Loss Account for the Year Ended Dec. 31, 1991
 (In thousands of Irish pounds)
 1991 1990 Percent
 (Restated) Change
 Turnover 1,145,856 1,216,033 -5.8
 Cost of sales 802,897 837,077
 Gross profit 342,959 378,956
 Operating costs 258,905 270,871
 Trading profit 84,054 108,085 -22.2
 Share of related companies'
 profits 863 1,349
 Interest payable and similar
 charges (net) (9,038) (16,334)
 Convertible capital bonds:
 Servicing cost (7,245) (5,457)
 Prov. for supplemental interest (6,072) (4,126)
 Profit on ordinary activities
 before taxation 62,562 83,517 -25.1
 Taxation on profit on ordinary
 activities 11,544 16,396
 Profit on ordinary activities
 after taxation 51,018 67,121 -24.0
 Profit applicable to minority
 interests 611 701
 Preference dividends 46 46
 Profit attributable to ordinary
 shareholders 50,361 66,374
 Dividends:
 Paid 6,257 5,748
 Proposed 12,463 11,475
 Retained profit 31,641 49,151
 Earnings per ordinary share:
 Basic 17.46p 23.20p -24.7
 Fully diluted 19.44p 23.81p -18.4
 Notes:
 -- Depreciation charge 40,509,000 pounds (1990 37,849,000 pounds).
 -- Net dividend (pence per share) 1991 1990
 Interim dividend 2.15 2.00
 Second interim dividend 4.30 --
 Final dividend -- 4.00
 Total 6.45 6.00 7.5 pct.
 CRH plc
 Group Balance Sheet as at Dec. 31, 1991
 (In thousands of Irish pounds)
 1991 1990
 (Restated)
 Fixed assets:
 Tangible assets 424,953 441,302
 Financial assets 45,507 26,890
 Total 470,460 468,192
 Current assets:
 Stocks 127,432 129,113
 Debtors 208,879 218,159
 Cash at bank and in hand 385,512 361,965
 Total 721,823 709,237
 Creditors (amounts falling
 due within one year):
 Bank loans and overdrafts 80,520 104,428
 Trade and other creditors 219,677 224,912
 Corporation tax 8,170 9,593
 Dividends 12,475 11,487
 Total 320,842 350,420
 Net current assets 400,981 358,817
 Total assets less current
 liabilities 871,441 827,009
 Creditors (amounts falling due
 after more than one year):
 Bank loans 332,235 326,009
 Corporation tax 18,740 15,429
 Total 350,975 341,438
 Provisions for liabilities
 and charges 14,809 8,053
 Capital and reserves:
 Called-up share capital 76,284 75,512
 Share premium account 113,164 109,727
 Other reserves 7,505 7,505
 Profit and loss account 177,201 152,787
 Related companies' reserves 264 264
 Total 374,418 345,795
 Convertible capital bonds 116,219 115,555
 Minority shareholders'
 interest 2,805 2,980
 Capital grants 12,215 13,188
 Total 871,441 827,009
 CRH plc
 Supplementary Information
 1. Geographical Analysis -- Turnover/Trading Profit By Destination
 (in thousands of Irish pounds)
 1991 Pct. 1990 Pct.
 Turnover:
 Republic of Ireland 209,962 18.3 230,327 18.9
 Britain & Northern
 Ireland 382,976 33.4 434,966 35.8
 Mainland Europe 379,287 33.1 366,427 30.1
 United States 173,631 15.2 184,313 15.2
 Total 1,145,856 100 1,216,033 100
 Trading profit:
 Republic of Ireland 36,018 42.8 42,584 39.4
 Britain & Northern
 Ireland 4,364 5.2 15,351 14.2
 Mainland Europe 30,066 35.8 31,027 28.7
 United States 13,606 16.2 19,123 17.7
 Total 85,054 100 108,085 100
 2. Other
 1991 1990
 Earnings per share (p):
 Basic 17.46 23.20
 Fully diluted 19.44 23.81
 Cash flow per share(p) 31.50 36.43
 Net dividend (p) 6.45 6.00
 Gross dividend (p) 8.60 8.11
 Dividend cover (times) 2.69 3.85
 Net debt including bonds
 (thousands of Irish pounds) 143,462 184,027
 Net debt excluding bonds
 (thousands of Irish pounds) 27,243 68,472
 3. Abbreviated Accounts
 The results disclosed herein do not represent full accounts. Full accounts for the year ended Dec. 31, 1991, upon which the auditors have given an unqualified audit report, have not yet been filed with the Registrar of Companies. Full accounts for the year ended Dec. 31, 1990, containing an unqualified report from the auditors have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies.
 -0- 3/4/92
 /CONTACT: Tony Barry, chief executive; Jack Hayes, managing director-finance and development; Harry Sheridan, finance director; or Myles Lee, general manager-finance of CRH plc, in Dublin, 01-591111/
 (CRHCY) CO: CRH plc ST: IN: CST SU: ERN


GK-OS -- NY013 -- 4896 03/04/92 11:06 EST
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