March 1, 2018, 2:54 a.m. EST

CRH pretax profit rises for 2017

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By Carlo Martuscelli

Building materials company CRH PLC (CRG.DB) said Thursday that profit before tax increased 16% in 2017, as the company benefited from a positive performance in Europe and the U.S.

The Dublin-based company posted a pretax profit of 2.01 billion euros for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with EUR1.74 billion the year before. Revenue increased 1.7% to EUR27.56 billion.

Profit before tax from continuing operations was EUR1.87 billion, up from EUR1.62 billion the year before. This discounts the effect of CRH's Americas distribution segment, which it agreed to sell in August.

CRH said that it benefited from increases in underlying demand in the Americas, as well as positive momentum in Europe. The U.S. tax reform had a one-time positive effect on its tax liabilities, which reduced its tax charge to EUR94 million from EUR471 million in 2016.

The company says it expects economic growth across both Europe and the U.S. It sees continued growth in U.S. housing as well as non-residential construction. In Europe, its focus will be on increasing gains it made in pricing and efficiency.

"In Asia, with expectations for continued economic growth in the Philippines, we anticipate some stabilization of the cement market in 2018, however results from our business will remain challenged," CRH said.

It posted a final dividend of 48.8 euro cents per share, versus 46.2 euro cents per share a year earlier.

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