Expenditure and takeovers cost CRH £38 million


CRH, the building materials' group, has announced acquisitions and capital expenditure totalling £38 million in Britain, mainland Europe and the United States.

These are in addition to the £30 million investment in Poland announced in October, and the acquisitions in the US and Canada amounting to £16.7 million, announced last month.

The acquisitions and capital expenditure in the second half of 1995 are in line with the group's strategy of investing in its existing operations and in medium sized acquisitions "in order to secure strategic positions and to achieve a balanced regional, sectoral and product mix", Mr Don Godson, CRH chief executive, said.

They will "strengthen market positions in our core businesses", he added.

Some £11.6 million was spent in Britain, £12.4 million in mainland Europe and £14 million in the US.

Keyline, CRH's British builders' merchants subsidiary, purchased a further 23 outlets. These branches had combined sales of £23.7 million.

The most significant, said CRH, were the 14 Builders Mate branches purchased from Wickes.

Of the 23 branches acquired eight are located in Scotland, three in the Greater Manchester area, three in the north east, two in Lancashire, two in Yorkshire and one each in Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Devon, Nottinghamshire and Wales.

In mainland Europe, CRH acquired Grillo Bausysteme, a German rooflight manufacturer, for £5.2 million, and Vebofoam, a Belgian extruded polystyrene insulation producer, for £5.9 million. In addition, its 50/50 Portuguese joint venture opened its first MAX-MAT building supplies store.

Grillo, located at Voerde, near Duisburg in the Ruhr region of Germany, is an ideal complement to Vaculux, its Netherlands subsidiary which produces acrylic domelights, CRH said. The two companies will have combined sales of £18 million.

Vebofoam is located at Herentals, near Antwerp, and recorded sales of some £5.5 million last year.

The 50/50 joint venture with Sonae Distribuicao, a leading Portuguese hypermarket operator, opened a 3,000 sq m store in Oporto. The store represents an investment of £2.5 million and is the first in a planned chain of similar stores in Portugal.

In the US, Oldcastle's Architectural Products Group began a £7.1 million expansion programme at two plants in Arizona and Indiana.

Precast Group invested £3.3 million in a North Carolina concrete pipe plant. This will replace Precast's ageing production facilities and will produce a broader product range of sanitary ware. The plant is scheduled to be in production by the third quarter of 1996.

Glass Group has invested £900,000 in a new glass laminating line at Tampa, Florida, and Materials Group spent £2.7 million on its operations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.