Crh makes record buy

29 April 2008

Us: Irish building materials group CRH has agreed to acquire Ashland Paving and Construction (APAC) for US$ 1.3 billion. The purchase is being made through CRH's Oldcastle Materials subsidiary, and is CRH's largest acquisition to date.

APAC part of US chemicals company Ashland Inc, is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and has annual sales of US$ 2.9 billion through its quarrying, asphalt production and road building activities. It has a presence in 14 Southern and Midwestern States and its assets include 92 aggregate production facilities (including 41 permanent quarries), 24 ready-mix concrete plants and 227 hot-mix asphalt plants. It owns 13000 pieces of mobile equipment and employs 9700 people.

According to CRH its Americas Materials division, which includes Oldcastle, is already the largest asphalt producer in the US. It operates in 32 US states and had sales last year of US$ 3.9 billion and an operating profit of US$ 613 million.

CRH as a whole had sales of € 14.4 billion (US$ 18.4 billion) last year, and is one of the most acquisitive companies in the sector. 2005 saw it spend € 1.2 billion (US$ 1.54 billion) on buying companies, € 344 million (US$ 440 million) of which was in its Americas Materials division. The first six months of 2006 saw it invest € 800 million (US$ 1.02 billion) on acquisitions, so the APAC deal takes its total for the year-to-date above € 2 billion (US$ 2.56 billion).

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