CRH decides to quit Russian market

Building materials giant to exit joint venture in St Petersburg owned by CRH Finnish unit

CRH is one of the largest cement producers in Ukraine. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

CRH, the building materials giant that is one of Ireland's biggest companies, has decided to exit the Russian market, following the invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of economic sanctions on Russia.

“CRH management, in conjunction with its board of directors, took the decision over the weekend to cease operations in Russia and withdraw from the market,” it said on Wednesday night, in response to queries from The Irish Times about the future of its Russian operations.

CRH, which is also one of the largest cement producers in Ukraine, has a stake in six readymix plants in Russia. They are located in the region of St Petersburg, the second largest city in the country after Moscow, through a joint venture owned by its Finnish unit, Rudus.

Rudus co-owns LujaBetomix, which is a joint venture that its Betomix subsidiary owns along with another Finnish cement producer, Luyabeton.


According to LujaBetomix’s Russian website, the ultimately CRH-backed joint venture was formed in 2014 specifically to target the Russian market. Rudus had separately been selling into the St Petersburg market from across the border in Finland since the late 1990s.

CRH now insists that it will end all commercial activities in the Russian market, which suggests that its Rudus unit and the joint venture will cease selling any cement products in St Petersburg.

CRH, which announces its annual results on Thursday, is expected to face questioning on its exit from the Russian market.

Last week ahead of the invasion, CRH had prepared contingency plans for its Ukrainian operation, which is predominantly located in the west of the country.

It said its Ukrainian operation, which employs about 800, is responsible for less than 1 per cent of the group’s near €27 billion annual sales. It is understood that the Russian operation is smaller than the Ukrainian operation.

The company has said that the safety of its staff in the region is “our number one priority”.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times