In a trading update, the company said trading would be better in Europe than in America, warning of “another testing year” in the US residential market.
It said: “Current forecasts for 2008 point to continuing economic growth in our main markets, although at a slower pace than in 2007.”
CRH said it expects pre-tax profit of around £1.4 billion in 2007 – up almost 17 per cent from last year’s £1.2 billion.
The firm also announced today it had bought 37 companies worth £517 million. The string of deals brings the company’s total acquisitions in 2007 to £1.6 billion – its biggest ever spend in a calendar year.
CRH said that its new acquisitions were based across materials, products and distribution sectors in Europe and America. Its new buys include two UK businesses – the £12 million turnover Birmingham-based West Midland Fencing, and £8 million turnover construction accessories wholesaler Forsite.
It had already announced 41 purchases earlier in 2007.
CRH also said it will use its profits to buy back up to 5 per cent of shares. It will formally unveil its preliminary results on 4 March.