Half-year revenues reached £125.5m, up from £100.2m for the same period last year.
Underlying operating profit was up 57% to £10.4m (2013 H1: £6.6m). Pre-tax profit more than doubled to £9.1m (2013 H1: £4.4m).
Executive chairman Peter Tom said the improvement was partly driven by better weather – the start of 2013 was severely affected by poor weather – and partly due to improvement in the economy. The Mineral Products Association has reported national volume increases of 15-18% for aggregates and asphalt and 5% for concrete in the first quarter of 2014.
Breedon’s numbers were also boosted by acquisitions
The results include a full six months' benefit from the acquisitions of the former Marshalls quarries in England and the former Aggregate Industries (AI) operations in Scotland, which were completed on 30 April 2013. The results also include a month's contribution from Huntsman's Quarries, acquired on 1 June 2014 for £15m.
Mr Tom said: “Market conditions in England generally remain stronger than in Scotland, although the Scottish business had a strong first quarter on the back of increased spending by Transport Scotland. We continue to focus on our core customers and markets, where we successfully differentiate our products by offering better quality and service. The improved market conditions have enabled us to increase prices, recovering input costs, and make up some of the ground lost during the recession.
“We have finally come to the end of the long-running investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) into the acquisition of the AI business in northern Scotland. This drawn-out process started at the end of April 2013 and, as previously reported, the CMA's findings mean that we are obliged to sell one concrete plant and one asphalt plant in the Aberdeen area and enter into a price-control agreement on asphalt in the Inverness area. We have six months to comply with the findings. Pleasingly we are now able to fully integrate the business, which has been operating as a commercially independent entity for the past year, and we expect to deliver synergy benefits in the second half of this year.
“We continue to invest in our core business and in the first half we acquired a new sand and gravel quarry at West Deeping in Lincolnshire and opened a new concrete plant at Cannock near Stafford. We also acquired, from AI, the concrete plant in our Clearwell quarry (purchased from Marshalls last year). In addition, we invested in a significant amount of capital equipment in the first half, including new processing plant at Craigenlow quarry in Scotland and a major investment to increase capacity at our large Norton Bottoms quarry near Newark. We continue to see good opportunities for further organic investment in the business at attractive returns.”