RNS Number : 3934K
22 April 2020
Trading Update - April 2020
-- Positive start to the year; Q1 like-for-like sales +3%
-- Impact of COVID-19 visible since mid-March; actively monitoring the situation
-- The health & safety of our people remains our number one priority
-- Focused on protecting our people, resources, businesses & market positions
-- 2020 outlook is uncertain & cannot be reasonably estimated at this time
-- Comprehensive mitigating actions being implemented across the Group
Ø Suspension of all non-essential & discretionary
Ø Restricting capital expenditure to essential maintenance
Ø Reducing working capital in line with lower activity
Ø Significant cost & restructuring actions being taken
Ø Temporary lay-offs & furlough arrangements in affected
Ø 25% salary reductions for all leadership teams & Board
-- Strong financial position; over $6 billion of cash & cash equivalents
-- Positive long-term prospects; expected beneficiaries of any future stimulus measures
-- Final dividend proposed; subject to shareholder approval at tomorrow's AGM
Albert Manifold, Chief Executive, said today:
"We have had a good start to the year, and although the global
spread of COVID-19 brings challenges for us all, I have no doubt
that with the financial strength of CRH and the experience of our
leadership teams, we will endure through these unprecedented and
uncertain times. All necessary actions are being taken to protect
our employees and businesses, and to ensure that we are well
positioned for the recovery in our markets."
Announced Wednesday, 22 April 2020
People & Communities
The safety of our people is our number one priority and our
approach to workplace safety is uncompromising. In this regard,
every effort is being made to ensure that we provide a safe working
environment for our employees, contractors and customers, enabling
them to carry out their activities in accordance with the various
health and safety protocols currently in place across our
Across the Group, our businesses are deeply embedded in our
local communities. In an effort to help our communities with the
ongoing COVID-19 crisis, several of our businesses are donating
personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential supplies to
help local hospitals and communities deal with the current medical
Trading Impact of Global COVID-19 Pandemic
The current health emergency caused by the global spread of
COVID-19 has significant implications for the economies and
construction markets in which we operate, and we are following the
advice and direction of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well
as government and public health authorities across our markets.
CRH continues to actively monitor the rapidly evolving situation
and an extensive range of business continuity measures are in place
across our operations globally. These measures include enhanced
safety and sanitation protocols as well as adjustments to work
practices to ensure social distancing is observed.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, governments around
the world have implemented various restrictions on public
gatherings, the movement of people and certain business activities.
The impact of these measures on our operations has been visible
since the middle of March, however the severity and the operational
impact of the restrictions varies significantly from country to
In North America, while emergency restrictions have been
implemented in all US states, construction has to-date been deemed
an 'essential activity' in most markets and is permitted to
continue, provided appropriate safety measures are implemented. Our
businesses in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington state have
been the most impacted to-date, while our operations in the
Southeast, Central and Western US have been less affected. We have
also experienced significantly lower activity levels in Ontario and
Quebec as a result of government restrictions on construction in
both markets. Nevertheless, healthy backlogs and a favourable
bidding environment continue to provide support for our business,
and although the situation remains fluid, we are starting to see
early indications of restrictions being eased across a number of
Our operations in Europe have been more impacted to-date, with
nationwide shutdowns being implemented across a number of Western
European markets, including the UK, France and Ireland. With the
exception of certain essential activities which are permitted to
continue, our operations in these markets have been significantly
impacted in recent weeks. In the absence of nationwide restrictions
on construction activity, our Central and Eastern European
businesses have been less impacted to-date.
In the Philippines, government restrictions implemented during
the month of March have resulted in significantly lower volumes and
activity levels in recent weeks.
Q1 2020 Trading Performance
Notwithstanding the evolving situation with regard to the global
spread of COVID-19, the Group had a positive start to the year with
first quarter like-for-like () sales 3% ahead of 2019.
First quarter like-for-like sales for our Americas Materials
operations were 8% ahead of 2019, benefiting from good underlying
demand and pricing improvements in all products. Sales volumes
benefited from milder weather in our North and West regions, while
wet weather impacted activity levels in the South.
-- Aggregates: Q1 like-for-like aggregates volumes were 13%
ahead of 2019, benefiting from favourable weather conditions,
particularly in our West and North regions; average year-to-date
selling prices increased by 1% with progress in all regions.
-- Asphalt: Good demand in the West offset unfavourable weather
in our South region with Q1 like-for-like volumes up 1%; average
prices were 1% ahead of 2019.
-- Readymixed Concrete: Like-for-like volumes for Q1 were 6%
ahead, driven by strong market conditions in our North region;
average prices were 5% ahead of the same period last year.
-- Paving and Construction Services: Sales in our paving and
construction services business increased 1% over 2019 with strong
year-on-year improvement in the West, partly offset by adverse
weather in our South region.
-- Cement: Q1 volumes were 4% ahead of 2019 with strong market
conditions in the US, while Canada was impacted towards the end of
March by government implemented COVID-19 restrictions; prices were
6% ahead with good momentum in both markets.
() Like-for-like movements exclude the impact of currency
exchange, acquisitions and divestments
A solid start to the year for Europe Materials was offset by the
impact of COVID-19 related government restrictions across a number
of key markets in Europe and Asia during the last two weeks of
March. As a result, sales in the first quarter were broadly in line
with the same period in 2019.
-- Western Europe: Continued pricing progress was offset by
lower volumes which were impacted by government shutdown orders in
core markets such as the UK and France towards the end of the
-- Eastern Europe: Sales were ahead of prior year driven by
higher cement volumes and improved pricing. The trading impact of
COVID-19 restrictions was less evident in Eastern Europe during the
-- Asia: Despite a positive start to the year, cement volumes
and prices in the Philippines finished behind Q1 2019, impacted by
COVID-19 restrictions experienced in the second half of March.
A mild start to the year along with solid demand in North
America resulted in like-for-like sales 3% ahead of 2019.
Favourable volumes together with pricing progress across most
platforms was partly offset by the impact of government implemented
COVID-19 restrictions on a number of our operations in Europe and
North America towards the end of the quarter.
-- Architectural Products: Like-for-like sales were ahead as
good underlying demand was supported by favourable weather in both
Europe and North America along with early seasonal purchasing by
homecenters in the US.
-- Infrastructure Products: Sales growth was driven by price
improvements across most geographies and end-use segments in North
America along with solid backlogs entering the year. Progress was
partly offset by weaker volumes in Europe during March.
-- Building Envelope: Like-for-like sales were behind Q1 2019 as
a result of lower volumes and prices along with the closure of some
sites due to government restrictions relating to COVID-19.
-- Construction Accessories: Despite a solid start to the year
supported by higher selling prices and good demand in some key
markets in Europe, like-for-like sales were behind 2019 as a result
of business disruptions in March due to COVID-19.
In this time of unprecedented economic, financial and
operational uncertainty, management attention is firmly focused on
protecting our business, mitigating any potential adverse financial
impact and ensuring the Group is well positioned for the recovery
in our markets. CRH has a strong and experienced management team
with a proven track record of successfully guiding the Group
through several periods of uncertainty and business disruption over
the last 25 years. Immediate and comprehensive actions are being
implemented to mitigate the financial impact of this current
crisis. To-date these actions include:
-- Suspension of all non-essential and discretionary expenditure for the foreseeable future
-- Restricting capital expenditure to essential maintenance levels
-- Strict working capital management; reducing working capital
in line with lower activity levels
-- Significant cost and restructuring actions to right-size the
business in line with evolving demand levels
-- Consolidating operating locations as we adapt to lower levels of production activity
-- Group-wide recruitment freeze in place
-- Temporary lay-offs and furlough arrangements in areas
experiencing significant demand weakness
-- 25% salary reductions implemented for all leadership teams and Board members
The Group's balance sheet and liquidity positions remain very
strong, with a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.7x at year-end 2019.
Following a prudent and precautionary decision to draw down its
EUR3.5 billion revolving credit facility, the Group now has cash
and cash equivalents of over $6 billion. This is sufficient to meet
all maturing debt obligations for the next 4.5 years and the
weighted average maturity of the remaining debt is 10.4 years.
There are no financial covenants associated with the Group's debt
Update on Share Buybacks & Dividends
In March the Group completed the latest phase of its share
buyback programme, returning a further EUR200 million of cash to
shareholders. This brings total cash returned to shareholders under
the Group's share buyback programme to EUR1.8 billion since its
commencement in May 2018. Share buyback decisions are based on an
ongoing assessment of the capital needs of the business and general
market conditions. In light of the recent market volatility, the
Board has decided to postpone the Group's share buyback programme
until further notice. As announced on 28 February, the Board has
proposed a final cash dividend of EUR0.63 per share for the
consideration of shareholders at tomorrow's AGM.
The global COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a material
impact on economic and construction activity across our markets in
2020. Due to the unprecedented level of volatility in our markets
and the uncertainty surrounding the extent and duration of
government restrictions that are currently being implemented, the
impact on CRH's profitability in 2020 cannot be reasonably
estimated at this time. The Group continues to monitor the
situation closely and further updates will be provided when
visibility improves and we have greater clarity over the expected
financial performance of the Group in 2020.
The longer-term prospects for CRH remain positive, benefiting
from significant financial strength and resilience together with a
portfolio of high-quality assets in attractive markets. We have
also seen strong efforts from governments and central banks around
the world to mitigate the economic effects of the current crisis,
and the construction industry is expected to be among the key
beneficiaries of any future stimulus measures.
CRH will report its interim results for the six months ending 30
June 2020 on Thursday, 20 August 2020.
CRH plc will host an analysts' conference call at 08:30 BST on
Wednesday, 22 April 2020 to discuss the Trading Update. To join
this call please dial: +353 (0) 1 553 0196, user PIN *0 (further
international numbers are available here ). A recording of the
conference call will be available on the Results &
Presentations page of the CRH website.
Contact CRH at +353 1 404 1000
Albert Manifold Chief Executive
Senan Murphy Finance Director
Frank Heisterkamp Director of Capital Markets & ESG
Tom Holmes Head of Investor Relations
CRH (LSE: CRH, ISE: CRG, NYSE: CRH) is the leading building
materials business in the world, employing c.79,000 people at
c.3,100 operating locations in 30 countries. It is the largest
building materials business in North America, a leading heavyside
materials business in Europe and has positions in both Asia and
South America. CRH manufactures and supplies a range of integrated
building materials, products and innovative solutions which can be
found throughout the built environment, from major public
infrastructure projects to commercial buildings and residential
structures. A Fortune 500 company, CRH is a constituent member of
the FTSE 100 Index, the EURO STOXX 50 Index, the ISEQ 20 and the
Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) Europe. CRH's American
Depositary Shares are listed on the NYSE.
For more information visit www.crh.com
In order to utilise the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the United
States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, CRH public
limited company (the "Company"), and its subsidiaries
(collectively, "CRH" or the "Group") is providing the following
This document contains statements that are, or may be deemed to
be forward-looking statements with respect to the financial
condition, results of operations, business, viability and future
performance of CRH and certain of the plans and objectives of CRH.
These forward-looking statements may generally, but not always, be
identified by the use of words such as "will", "anticipates",
"should", "could", "would", "targets", "aims", "may", "continues",
"expects", "is expected to", "estimates", "believes", "intends" or
similar expressions. These forward-looking statements include all
matters that are not historical facts or matters of fact at the
date of this document.
By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and
uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on
circumstances that may or may not occur in the future and reflect
the Company's current expectations and assumptions as to such
future events and circumstances that may not prove accurate.
A number of material factors could cause actual results and
developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied
by these forward-looking statements, certain of which are beyond
our control, as detailed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in
our 2019 Annual Report on Form 20-F as filed with the US Securities
and Exchange Commission.
You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any
forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are
made as of the date of this document. The Company expressly
disclaims any obligation or undertaking to publicly update or
revise these forward-looking statements other than as required by
The forward-looking statements in this document do not
constitute reports or statements published in compliance with any
of Regulations 6 to 8 of the Transparency (Directive 2004/109/EC)
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 22, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)
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