CRH cements $3.5bn acquisition of United States firm

In early morning trading, CRH shares topped the FTSE 100 leader board, up 3.7%, or 97p at 2,752p.

For the year to 31 December 2016, it reported pre-tax profits of $215m (£159m/€181m) and had gross assets of $2.5bn (£1.85bn/€2.1bn).

The building materials maker rose after agreeing to buy US cement maker Ash Grove Cement Co in a $3.5 billion (£2.59 billion) deal to expand in North America.

The proposed transaction, which is expected to close around the end of the year, will be financed through existing financial resources, CRH said in a statement.

Ash Grove, the fifth largest cement manufacturer in the US where it has operated eight cement plants in as many states under the same family for over a century, said the value of the deal was estimated in the range of about $449 to $454 per share based on its balance sheet as of June 30.

CRH is the biggest customer for Ash Grove, a 135-year-old company with 2,700 employees and eight cement plants across eight US states, according to the companies.

Bloomberg noted in its coverage of the news the deal comes the same week as Heidelberg Cement AG agreed to buy Italian assets from Cementir Holding SpA for €315 million.

In August 2015, CRH sealed a £4.9bn deal to buy parts of Lafarge and Holcim’s business including the firm’s United Kingdom arm.

The transaction, announced one month into the tenure of new Ash Grove Chief Executive Officer J. Randall Vance, has been unanimously approved by the board of directors, the USA company said in the statement. The company has operated for 135 years and over a century of this time it has been run by the Sunderland family.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is serving as financial adviser to Ash Grove and Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP is its legal adviser.

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