CRH investment spend set to pass Euro7bn with South Korea cement deal

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Ireland/South Korea: CRH's investment spend for 2015 looks set to surpass Euro7bn, with the company heavily linked with a Euro800m move for the number two player in South Korea's cement market, Tongyang Cement & Energy. Tongyang Cement & Energy has a market value of nearly Euro600m. Its owner is reportedly putting a 74% stake on the market, with a Euro800m price tag being touted.

CRH's Euro6.5bn purchase of assets being offloaded as part of the merger between Holcim and Lafarge is due to conclude in August 2015. CRH is set to become the third-largest building materials business in the world on the back of that deal, but management has already suggested that it won't be the limit of its 2015 spending. CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said that the group had a 'very strong' acquisition pipeline.

CRH spent Euro45m in the first four months of 2015. Manifold said that CRH currently has a separate Euro1bn US deal under consideration and a Euro700m deal, but noted that CRH typically concludes around 10% of the deals that come onto its radar. However, if all of those deals came to pass, CRH's 2015 investments would exceed Euro8bn.

While the Euro700m deal is thought to be a European target, if the Korean deal goes ahead, it would further boost CRH's Asian presence, which is already being improved via new assets in the Philippines coming on stream via the LafargeHolcim deal. CRH said that it would repackage its Asian operations into a separate grouped entity in 2015 to cater for its growing size. The South Korean market consumes about 45Mt/yr of cement from a total production capacity of around 65Mt/yr.