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Aug. 20, 2020, 2:42 a.m. EDT

CRH declares dividend as profit falls amid virus

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By Joe Hoppe

CRH PLC said Thursday it had a 33% fall in pretax profit for the first half of 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus and lower divestment profits, but declared a flat interim dividend.

The Ireland-based building-materials company said that pretax profit was $518 million, compared with $773 million from all operations in the first half of 2019. The company reported a pretax profit of $717 million from continuing operations.

CRH attributed the fall to lower profit on divestments compared with 2019.

Revenue fell to $12.22 billion, from $12.85 billion.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization--one of the company's preferred metrics--came to $1.59 billion compared with $1.62 billion in the year-prior period, and on the back of one-off, primarily coronavirus-related costs.

The board declared an interim dividend of 22 cents, flat with 2019.

The company said net debt as of June 30 was $7.8 billion, narrowed from $11.6 billion a year earlier.

The company said it expects like-for-like sales in the third quarter to fall slightly, but Ebitda to be in line with results the year before. CRH added the outlook for the fourth quarter and beyond was still uncertain due to coronavirus-related disruption.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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