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 DUBLIN, Ireland, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- CRH plc, the international building materials group headquartered in Dublin, has announced its results for the year to Dec. 31, 1992.
 Key Points
 -- Turnover decreased by 3 percent to IR1,114 million pounds (1991 IR1,146 million pounds).
 -- Profit before tax was 8 percent lower at IR57.6 million pounds (1991 IR62.6 million pounds).
 -- Earnings per share declined 8 percent to IR16.05 pence (1991 IR17.46p).
 -- Cash flow per share was down 7 percent to IR29.21 pence (1991 IR31.50p).
 -- Dividends per share increased 5 percent to IR6.75 pence, covered 2.4 times.
 -- Results amply demonstrate merits of geographic, product and sectoral spread in a year that was generally difficult for the building materials industry. The contribution to trading profit from the group's four operating regions was:
 Republic of Ireland IR32 million pounds, accounting for 45 percent
 Britain and Northern
 Ireland IR 4 million pounds, accounting for 5 percent
 Mainland Europe IR21 million pounds, accounting for 29 percent
 United States IR15 million pounds, accounting for 21 percent
 -- The debt ratio, treating convertible capital bonds and related supplemental interest as debt was 47 percent (1991 40 percent), and as equity 8 percent (1991 5 percent).
 -- Cash balances were IR408 million pounds at year end.
 -- Tony Barry, chief executive, said today: "While we do look forward to improvements in some of our operations, particularly in the United States, the current year seems certain to witness difficult conditions in a number of our markets. Although 1993 will be another tough year, severe pruning of costs has our companies in good shape. Given the energy and enthusiasm of the management team, we hope to achieve results that will be regarded as good in the circumstances prevailing."
 The directors report a pre-tax profit of IR57,558,000 pounds (1991 IR62,562,000 pounds).
 Turnover amounted to IR1,113,933,000 pounds (1991 IR1,145,856,000 pounds).
 While trading profit declined by 14.2 percent from IR84.1 million pounds to IR72.2 million pounds, improved performance from related companies and lower finance costs resulted in an 8.0 percent decline in profit before tax.
 Finance costs, including non-cash supplemental interest on convertible capital bonds, were covered 3.7 times.
 Earnings per share amounted to IR16.05 pence compared with IR17.46 pence in the previous year, a decrease of 8.1 percent.
 Cash flow per share of IR29.21 pence compared with IR31.50 pence in 1991, a decrease of 7.3 percent.
 The merits of our strategy of geographic, product and sectoral spread were again amply demonstrated in a year that was generally difficult for our industry.
 The board is recommending a final dividend of IR4.50 pence per share (1991 IR4.30 pence). This makes a total dividend for the year of IR6.75 pence (1991 IR6.45 pence) an increase of 4.7 percent. The total dividend is covered 2.4 times. It is proposed to pay the final dividend on May 5, 1993 in respect of ordinary shares and on May 7, 1993 in respect of income shares to shareholders registered at close of business on April 15, 1993.
 Acquisitions, Investments and Capital Expenditures
 Acquisitions and investments during the year amounted to IR67 million pounds. Over IR50 million pounds of this total was invested in the Netherlands, substantially strengthening our strategic position in core activities in this market. While underlying capital expenditure levels remained similar to 1991, spending in the Netherlands on the new Sellink insulation board factory, close to the German border, and in the U.S. on the modernization of Callanan's South Bethlehem quarry, resulted in an increase in total capital expenditure to IR34 million pounds (1991 IR28 million pounds).
 Borrowings and Debt Ratio
 Borrowings net of cash and including convertible capital bonds totalled IR179.2 million pounds at year-end, compared with IR153.7 million pounds at end-1991. Convertible capital bonds, including cumulative supplemental interest, accounted for IR136.6 million pounds (1991 IR126.4 million pounds) of this total.
 The debt ratio, including convertible capital bonds, was 47 percent, compared with 40 percent at end-1991. Treating the convertible capital bonds as shareholders' funds results in a debt ratio of 8 percent (1991 5 percent).
 Cash balances at year-end amounted to IR408 million pounds (1991 IR386 million pounds).
 Republic of Ireland
 Construction output was slightly down on 1991 levels, with the gains from the good weather in the earlier part of the year being offset by general economic weakness. Turmoil in currency markets led to high interest rates which impacted late in the year and, which indeed, have continued at uncomfortably high real levels to date.
 Private housing recovered strongly following 1991's decline and local authority housing maintained the growth of recent years. Industrial and commercial construction declined sharply, as did agricultural investment. Infrastructural spending was strong, with roads particularly benefiting from EC Structural Funds.
 While the market for cement in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland was broadly static, Irish Cement's sales volumes declined by about 2 percent. Exports to Britain reduced and suffered a sharp reduction in margins following the devaluation of Sterling. Strong cost control measures, combined with further improvements in energy economies, enabled the company to largely compensate for falling volumes and tightening margins.
 The Roadstone companies and John A. Wood benefited from the good housing market and activity on major road projects. However, intense competition for public works contracts and declining demand from other construction sectors put prices under severe pressure in the face of increasing costs. Despite tight cost control and ongoing efficiency improvement programs, margins were reduced and profitability suffered.
 Premier Periclase achieved record sales volumes of refractory magnesia, against a background of severe competition resulting from the continued downturn in the international steel industry. Large crystal magnesia from the vertical shaft kilns installed in 1990 accounted for over 75 percent of sales volumes. However, with weaker selling prices in all markets, profits were similar to 1991.
 Britain and Northern Ireland
 The recession in British construction deepened severely, with output falling by about 8 percent in the year. All sectors were affected. Our companies responded with an intensification of the cost containment measures of recent years. Profits overall were similar to 1991 levels in spite of the downturn, reflecting the absence of trading losses and costs associated with the closure of a Breton Warrington in 1991. Significant steps in relation to Total Quality Improvement programs, upgrading of information technology and the strengthening of management at all levels were achieved during 1992.
 The Forticrete Group continued to reduce costs through a wide range of measures including the closure of excess capacity at Leicester (masonry) and Bankhall (Hardrow roofing slates). The Anchor tile plant at Stourport and the Larford paving plant were temporarily mothballed. In walling products, volumes in both high quality masonry and common blocks continued to decline. Although rooftiles were particularly hard hit as a result of severe price competition in an over-capacity industry, our Anchorlite slate product made modest increases.
 Trading conditions at Keyline Builders Merchants continued to deteriorate, regrettably resulting in considerable demanning at all levels. The implementation of new information systems was completed ahead of time and within budget and has already resulted in an improvement in margins and credit control together with significant savings in stock levels and administration costs. Manpower and other cost reductions mitigated the worst effects of the lower sales volumes, but, after rationalization costs, profitability declined.
 In Northern Ireland, construction activity remained static and, although there was modest volume growth in some products, the downward pressure on margins was severe. The T.B.F. Thompson Group proved resilient in the very tough market conditions and returned a solid performance, although profits declined slightly. Blacktop operations in the southeast of England had a difficult 1992, due to delays in the overall construction program on the large M20 contract.
 Mainland Europe
 While the economic climate deteriorated as the year advanced, our operations performed well despite the difficult conditions. Profits in Spain were sharply down and in the Netherlands trading profits were only slightly lower than in 1991. Our joint venture in Germany made satisfactory progress during 1992. In mid-1992 Van Neerbos acquired the Braks and Monster merchanting operations and, just before year end, we completed the acquisitions of Struyk Holding and Kleiwarenfabriek Wessem, manufacturers of concrete paving and high quality clay brick respectively.
 In the Netherlands, mild weather in the first quarter mitigated the general weakness and overall construction output declined by 1 percent. Van Neerbos DIY sales and profits increased, and the restructuring of the merchanting division resulted in higher profits on reduced sales. Although Heras recorded a further year of strong sales growth, the costs of once-off disruptions, associated with new investment in automated manufacturing facilities, and the impact of Sterling's devaluation on its U.K. business, adversely impacted on profits. Verwo's paving and precast flooring divisions both performed well in difficult markets and profits were similar to 1991. Clay brick volumes and prices were marginally better than in 1991, resulting in improved profits.
 After seven years of continuous growth, volumes in the Spanish construction industry declined by more than 5 percent in 1992. Until mid-year activity was near the healthy level of the previous year, but from August very steep declines were recorded and towards year-end the decline moderated. While our ready mixed concrete volumes decreased in line with the market, the decline at our quarries and in our concrete product activities was less. Beton Catalan reduced capacity in its ready mixed and precast operations. Nevertheless, trading profits were markedly down.
 United States
 Although overall U.S. construction activity was up some 7 percent in 1992, our regional and sectoral markets grew by about 2 percent, due to the fact that non-residential construction, to which our block, glass and lightweight aggregates businesses are closely linked, had a further 3 percent decline on depressed 1991 in our market areas. Although government financed infrastructural spending increased, highway contracts were at very keen prices. While an improvement in trading profit and related company results was helped by the modest market upturn, it was mainly achieved through continued progress with cost reduction and new market initiatives, made possible by the more focused product based organization.
 The Precast Group made significant improvements to prestressed operations and the setbacks suffered in 1991 were largely redressed through new product additions and improvements in product quality and productivity. Precast and pipe operations in the western U.S. were hard hit by the deep recession in Southern California, partly offset by a continued strong performance in the Northwest. In North Carolina, NC Products had an excellent year. Southeast Precast, acquired in September 1991, substantially exceeded expectations in 1992.
 The Architectural Products Group (APG) had a creditable increase in operating profit in 1992 and now markets masonry products to 1,200 home improvement stores in 40 states. In the western division of APG, Denver based Westile, and Miller Materials based in Kansas, both had an excellent year. Goria of Greensboro, N.C. was the top performer in APG's eastern division, primarily due to strong growth in its patio and concrete paver business. Our lightweight aggregate company, Big River Industries, achieved cost efficiencies and a modest increase in sales, against a background of decline in its predominantly non-residential markets. Joint venture Superlite maintained good profitability in spite of weak Phoenix and Southern California markets.
 In the Materials Group, despite good volume increases to the infrastructural sector, Callanan Industries reported a profit decline as prices tightened in the absence of private sector activity. Related company, Pike Industries in New England, showed continued profit improvement, but a late start to the season resulted in tight margins on record tonnages.
 In the Tempered Glass Group our wholly owned operations in Denver and Everett, Wash. reported worthwhile profit increases but profits declined at our Vancouver, Wash. plant. Fifty percent owned HGP Industries achieved an increase in sales and met its profit targets despite further declines in U.S. tempered glass markets.
 While we do look forward to improvements in some of our operations, particularly in the United States, the current year seems certain to witness difficult conditions in a number of our markets. Although 1993 will be another tough year, severe pruning of costs has our companies in good shape. Given the energy and enthusiasm of the management team we hope to achieve results that will be regarded as good in the circumstances prevailing.
 Group Profit and Loss Account
 (In thousands of Irish pounds)
 Years ended Dec. 31 1992 1991 change
 Turnover 1,113,933 1,145,856 -2.8
 Cost of sales 778,722 802,897
 Gross profit 335,211 342,959
 Operating costs 263,058 258,905
 Trading profit 72,153 84,054 -14.2
 Share of related companies' profits 4,743 0
 Interest payable and similar
 charges (net) (5,023) (9,038)
 Convertible capital bonds:
 Servicing cost (7,421) (7,245)
 Provision for supplemental
 interest (6,894) (6,072)
 Profit on ordinary activities
 before taxation 57,558 62,562 -8.0
 Taxation on profit on
 ordinary activities 10,454 11,544
 Profit on ordinary activities
 after taxation 47,104 51,018
 Profit applicable to minority
 interests 451 611
 Preference dividends 46 46
 Profit attributable to
 ordinary shareholders 46,607 50,361
 Paid 6,538 6,257
 Proposed 13,104 12,463
 Retained profit 26,965 31,641
 Earnings per ordinary share 16.05 pence 17.46 pence -8.1
 (1) Depreciation charge IR38,205,000 pounds (1991 IR40,509,000 pounds).
 (2) Net dividend (pence per share) 1992 1991
 Interim dividend 2.25 pence 2.15 pence
 Second interim dividend -- 4.30 pence
 Final dividend 4.50 pence --
 Total 6.75 pence 6.45 pence +4.7
 Group Balance Sheet
 (Thousands of Irish pounds)
 12/31/92 12/31/91
 Fixed assets
 Tangible assets 449,057 424,953
 Financial assets 52,639 45,507
 Total 501,696 470,460
 Current assets
 Stocks 131,842 127,432
 Debtors 208,437 208,879
 Cash at bank and in hand 408,137 385,512
 Total 748,416 721,823
 Creditors (amounts falling
 due within one year)
 Bank loans and overdrafts 92,648 80,520
 Trade and other creditors 229,554 219,677
 Corporation tax 8,257 8,170
 Dividends 13,116 12,475
 Total 343,575 320,842
 Net current assets 404,941 400,981
 Total assets less
 current liabilities 906,537 871,441
 Creditors (amounts falling
 due after more than one
 Bank loans 358,155 332,235
 Convertible capital bonds 136,583 126,433
 Corporation tax 21,481 18,740
 Total 516,219 477,408
 Provisions for liabilities
 and charges 5,192 4,595
 Capital and reserves
 Called-up share capital 76,634 76,284
 Share premium account 114,841 113,164
 Other reserves 7,769 7,769
 Profit and loss account 172,268 177,201
 Total 371,512 374,418
 Minority shareholders'
 interest 2,434 2,805
 Capital grants 11,180 12,215
 Total 906,537 871,441
 Supplementary Information
 1. Geographical Analysis - Turnover/Trading Profit by Destination
 (Thousands of Irish pounds)
 1992 1991
 Turnover Pct. Pct.
 Republic of Ireland 206,803 18.6 209,962 18.3
 Britain and Northern Ireland 302,984 27.2 382,976 33.4
 Mainland Europe 405,368 36.4 379,287 33.1
 United States 198,778 17.8 173,631 15.2
 Total 1,113,933 100 1,145,856 100
 Trading profit
 Republic of Ireland 32,139 44.5 36,018 42.8
 Britain and Northern Ireland 3,955 5.5 4,364 5.2
 Mainland Europe 20,704 28.7 30,066 35.8
 United States 15,355 21.3 13,606 16.2
 Total 72,153 100 84,054 100
 2. Other
 1992 1991
 Per-share comparisons:
 Earnings 16.05p 17.46p
 Cash flow 29.21p 31.50p
 Net dividend 6.75p 6.45p
 Dividend cover (times) 2.37 2.69
 Net debt including bonds
 (thousands of Irish pounds) 179,249 153,676
 Net debt excluding bonds
 (thousands of Irish pounds) 42,666 27,243
 3. Abbreviated Accounts
 The results disclosed herein do not represent full accounts. Full accounts for the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, 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, 1991, containing an unqualified report from the auditors have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies.
 4. Comparative Amounts
 Comparative amounts have been restated, where necessary, on the same basis as those for the current year.
 The annual general meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 4, 1993.
 -0- 3/3/93
 /CONTACT: Tony Barry, chief executive officer, Jack Hayes, managing director-finance and development, Harry Sheridan, finance director or Myles Lee, general manager-finance, 01-591111, all of CRH plc/


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Date:Mar 3, 1993

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