Building materials conglomerate CRH could spend between €1.5 bn and €2bn on acquisitions over the next year without stretching its balance sheet or putting pressure on its credit rating.
Myles Lee, chief executive of the Irish group, which owns Ibstock Brick, said that possible markets for expansion could be Russia, Poland and the Ukraine, even China.
In the six months to the end of June, CRH increased sales by 7%year to to €8.16bn while earnings per share went from 2.6c to 10.7c. Pre-tax profits soared to €95m.
However, CRH said it is still likely to fall short of market expectations by the year-end due to raw material costs and slow economic growth.
“The positive outcome for the first half of 2011 clearly demonstrates the advantages of our product and sectoral end-use balance and the benefits of the extensive re-organisation and restructuring measures implemented in response to the exceptionally difficult markets of recent years,” Lee said.