CRH named company of the year at ‘Irish Times’ business awards

Company was on the deal path this year, agreeing to buy Ash Grove Cement for €2.8bn

Siobhán Talbot was named business person of the year at The Irish Times Business Awards 2018, while CRH was named company of the year.

 

Building materials giant CRH have been named company of the year at The Irish Times business awards 2018 held in Dublin’s Mansion House on Wednesday.

After taking 12 months off to digest and lower its debt burden after a record €8 billion of assets acquired in 2015, CRH was back on the deals path last year.

Ireland’s largest publicly listed group agreed last August to buy Ash Grove Cement, the US’s fifth-largest cement company, for $3.5 billion (€2.8 billion). Investors were cheering the group’s self-restraint on price even as a rival bidder, Summit Materials, founded by former top CRH executive, Tom Hill, gate-crashed the party. In the end, Summit walked away.

CRH’s chief executive Albert Manifold also bolstered his credentials as a disciplined boss, moving to sell the company’s low-margin US distribution arm, Allied Building Products, for $2.6 billion, having concluded there wasn’t enough scope to scale up the business further and enhancing shareholder returns.

CRH’s shares lost almost 8 per cent last year as investors scaled back their hopes over US president Donald Trump’s infrastructure spending plan. However, Manifold and his team concentrated on delivering, with earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation rising 6 per cent to a record €3.3 billion. Analysts currently expect the group to post a further increase of more than 8 per cent in earnings this year.

Other awards being distributed at the ceremony include business person of the year, chief financial officer of the year, deal of the year and distinguished leader in business for 2018.