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Aug. 22, 2019, 2:40 a.m. EDT

CRH to buy back shares as profit rises 42%

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By Anthony O. Goriainoff

CRH PLC (CRG.DB) said Thursday that it would spend a further 350 million euros ($388.3 million) to the end of the year as part of its share buyback program, as it reported a 42% rise in pretax profit for the first half of 2019.

Between May 2018 and August 2019, the Irish-based building materials company has returned EUR1.35 billion to shareholders through buybacks.

For the six months ended June 30, CRH said pretax profit was EUR707 million compared with EUR497 million in the first half of 2018 and a forecast of EUR574.1 million, taken from FactSet and based on two analysts' estimates.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization--one of the company's preferred metrics--came to EUR1.54 billion compared with EUR1.13 billion in the year-prior period, and a consensus of EUR1.47 billion, taken from FactSet and based on five analysts' forecasts.

Revenue was EUR13.22 billion compared with EUR11.94 billion the year before. Revenue consensus for the period was EUR12.87 billion, taken from FactSet and based on five analysts' forecasts.

The board has declared an interim dividend of 20 European cents, compared with 19.6 European cents in 2018.

Chief Executive Albert Manifold said the board expects trading in the second half to benefit from favorable conditions, currency tailwinds as well as contributions from acquisitions.

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