Its Europe Materials Division has reached agreement to acquire the family-owned VVM Group of businesses, which operates two cement grinding mills with a combined capacity of 1.5 million tonnes in Belgium and two ready mixed concrete plants in Belgium and France. Completion of the transaction, which is subject to the granting of the required regulatory approvals, would bring the cumulative development spend for the group to approximately €300m.
In the first half of this year, CRH’s leading area of investment was in the materials business in the Americas, where it spent €98m on seven acquisitions and two investments. It also made four acquisitions in products and distributions there, totalling €28m.
In Europe, CRH's €40m spent on the materials side covered one acquisition and two investments. It also made four acquisitions and one investment in products and distribution, with a total value of €20m.
CRH chief executive Myles Lee said: "The first six months of 2011 saw development activity continue across all six operating segments, strengthening our existing market positions and adding valuable and well-located aggregates reserves. The VVM transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, represents an important strategic opportunity for our existing Cementbouw cement trading and ready mixed concrete business in the Benelux, while also complementing our Products businesses in the region. The pipeline of potential acquisitions remains good, and with our strong balance sheet we have the capacity, where we see value, to capitalise on these opportunities.”
The transactions included June’s acquisition by Secil - CRH’s joint venture in Portugal – of Lafarge's Portuguese aggregates and ready mixed concrete business comprising 30 ready mixed concrete plants, four quarries and aggregates reserves of 56 million tonnes. The acquisition of Poland’s Lviv Beton precast and ready mixed concrete producer reflects CRH’s strategy of focussing expansion initiatives in large urban markets.
In January, the Concrete Products group acquired Belgium-based Juma, a precast company active in the structural and civil networks segments. Juma's facilities on the Belgium-Netherlands border bring savings by facilitating the partial re-location of CRH’s existing production platform in Belgium.