CRH chief executive to retire at end of the year

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CRH's Myles Lee set to retire at the end of the year

Building materials group CRH said that Myles Lee, its group chief executive, is to retire from the company at the end of 2013 having reached the age of 60.

He has been CEO for the last five years and spent ten years as an executive director at the company.

Mr Lee joined CRH in 1982, joined the board in November 2003 as finance director, and became chief executive in January 2009.

Announcing full year results, CRH said that its profits before tax fell by 5% to €674m for the year to December, down from €711m the previous year.

The results were better than market expectations.

Sales revenue rose by 3% to €18.659 billion from €18.081 billion, while operating profits decreased by 3% to €845m from €871m after restructuring and impairment charges of €88m.

The company said that the results reflected progress from its American operations, helped by a strong recovery in residential construction and improving overall economic activity in the US.

However, it said its European business had to contend with weakening consumer and investor confidence within the euro zone.

''Assuming no major financial or energy market dislocations, we expect that ongoing improvements in our businesses in the America, combined with further profit improvement initiatives throughout our operations will outweigh continuing trading pressures in our European segments, enabling the group to achieve progress in 2013,'' commented CRH's chief executive Myles Lee.

The CRH board said it is recommending a final dividend of 44 cent per share, in line with the final dividend for 2011. This gives a total dividend of 62.5 cent for the year, unchanged from 2011.

See how CRH shares performed in Dublin here.

Breakdown of CRH business divisions

CRH said that sales revenue at its Europe Materials division fell by 10% to €2.685 billion from €2.985 billion, while operating profits decreased by 7% to €405m from €436m.

The company said that construction activity in Ireland continued to fall with domestic cement volumes 17% lower than the previous year. It noted that while construction activity in Spain fell by 30%, its results there were in line with 2011 due to significant cost reduction measures.

Sales revenue at its Europe products division declined by 6% to €2.481 billion from €2.648 billion while operating profits slumped by 73% to €18m from €66m after experiencing ''very difficult trading conditions'' in 2012. It noted that the first half of the year was impacted by an extremely harsh winter, while euro zone economic difficulties continued to affect business confidence.

Its Europe Distribution division, which includes its DIY business, saw sales revenue fall by 5% to €4.140 billion from €4.340 billion while operating profits dropped by 19% to €154m from €190m.

CRH's America's Materials division reported a 13% increase in sales revenue for the year. Sales rose to €4.971 billion from €4.395 billion while operating profits increased by 7% to €282m from €264m with second half trading more challenging with a slower pace of highway contract awards and severe disruption to activity in the northeastern US due to Superstorm Sandy.

The America's Products division's sales revenue increased by 18% to €2.806 billion from €2.378 billion, while operating profits soared 105% to €86m from €42m due to a strong recovery in the residential construction in the US and an ongoing improvement in overall economic activity.

Operating profits at its America's Distribution division rose by 31% to €59m from €43m while sales revenue grew by 18% to €1.576 billion from €1.335 billion with contrasting patterns across its main trading activities in 2012.

CRH also said today that it will terminate all legal disputes with Cementos Portland Valderrivas (CPV), the largest Spanish-owned cement producer. It said it has agreed an asset swap with CPV.

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