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CRH Expects Full-Year Profit to Rise

CRH, an Irish maker of construction materials, said Wednesday it expects full-year pretax profit to rise about 23% as recent acquisitions contribute for the first time and the company boosted sales at existing businesses.

Pretax profit for the 12 months ended Dec. 31 probably rose to about euro1.58 billion (US$2.09 billion) from euro1.28 billion in 2005, the company said in a trading statement.

"Against a background of higher input costs and declining U.S. residential construction, CRH has once again performed strongly in 2006 to deliver record full-year organic growth," the company said.

CRH will report full-year earnings on March 6.

The company has grown rapidly by buying competitors' operations in Europe and the United States, spending about euro2.1 billion on acquisitions last year. CRH said last August it had sufficient cash to pursue more acquisitions, chiefly in the euro200 million to euro400 million (US$250 million to US$500 million) range.

CRH shares dipped 0.8% to euro31.30 (US$41.48) in Dublin.

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