By the turn of the century, CRH had established itself as one of the world’s leading building materials companies, with 37,000 employees at more than 1,100 locations in 18 countries worldwide and sales of close to €7 billion.
The 2000s saw CRH continuing to raise the bar, completing on average a further 52 acquisitions per year, or roughly one deal per week. With consolidation in Europe, entry into US cement for the first time and investments in emerging markets, CRH reached sales of over €17 billion in 2009.
At a glance
The acquisition of Jura Materials in Switzerland was a further step in expanding the Group’s cement and aggregates presence in Europe. While in the US, the acquisition of The Shelly Company and its primary subsidiary, West Virginia Paving, established a strong platform for subsequent expansion in Ohio and West Virginia.
Acquiring one of the ten largest quarries in the US, CRH consolidated its presence in the New York / New Jersey market, adding long-term aggregates reserves and asphalt and paving operations.
CRH completed its biggest deal up to that time with the acquisition of Cementbouw, a leading Dutch building materials group. The move doubled CRH’s distribution business in the Benelux region and provided an opportunity to take a 45% joint venture stake in Cementbouw’s cement trading and readymixed concrete operations in the region. The Group also established a new platform with its entry into construction accessories in Belgium and France.
As the Group’s Architectural Products business continued to expand in the Midwest and Northeast US masonry markets, significant further expansion into Florida’s hardscapes markets came with the acquisition of Matt Stone (2003) and Paver Systems.
In the same year as its shares began trading on the NYSE, CRH entered the US cement production market for the first time with a 50% ownership of the American Cement Company. That same year, the acquisition of Ashland Paving and Construction (APAC) for $1.1 billion (net of disposals), the largest single transaction in CRH's history to-date, cemented our leadership position in asphalt in the US. CRH also acquired Halfen in 2006, a construction accessories brand known and trusted by architectural engineers the world over; entered composite access chambers with the acquisition of Cubis Systems; and added curtain wall and aluminium extrusion to our glass fabrication business in the US, marking the start of the Oldcastle Building Envelope platform.
In a move to the Far East, CRH made its first acquisition in China with the purchase of Harbin Sanling Cement in the Northeast of the country.
The worldwide financial downturn led to a significant shift in CRH’s short-term focus and a curtailment of development activity as the economic environment deteriorated. Transactions included a 50% stake in MyHome Industries Limited (MHIL), an Indian cement producer with strong market positions and excellent reserves, marking CRH’s first entry into India as well as the acquisition of the UK’s leading manufacturer of construction accessories, Ancon.
CRH increased its emerging market exposure by acquiring a 26% stake of Yatai Cement, a leading cement manufacturer in Northeast China. The company, subsequently renamed Yatai Building Materials, is the leading supplier of cement and concrete products in the region.