Business Person of the Month, August 2017: Albert Manifold Group Chief Executive, CRH

Business Person of the Month | Tue 29 Aug | Author – Business & Finance Albert Manifold, chief executive, CRH

Strong results and increased operating profits prove that Albert Manifold, chief executive of CRH, continues to impress

Albert Manifold is making something of a habit of winning the Business & Finance Business Person of the Month Award, in association with KPMG. He was chosen in August 2016 and 2014 too, testament to his keen vision and consistently impressive interim results.

This year saw Ireland’s largest company, global building materials giant CRH, release its interim results headlined by a 10% increase in operating profit, to €647 million. The company gave an increase to investors’ interim dividend by 2.1 per cent to 19.2 cent a share.

STRATEGIC DIVESTMENT

A key strategic move was the divestment of their Americas distribution business, sold off for $2.63 billion (€2.2 billion) to Beacon Roofing Supply, as it did not represent enough acquisition opportunity for CRH to become the market leader in the sector. The funds generated from the sale have been earmarked to fund future acquisitions, including Fels, a German lime and aggregates firm, which Manifold revealed they have been interested in acquiring for the last 20 years. This acquisition would see the tally of their investment spend reach €1.2 billion this year.

“We are pleased that our Americas Distribution business is being acquired by a highly respected industry player and we wish our colleagues every success as they enter this new phase of their development. At the same time we see significant value creation potential from the Fels acquisition announced today, which will also be an exciting new development platform for CRH,” Manifold commented.

THE ACQUISITIONS TRAIL

He also rebuffed suggestions that their cash pile could work against them as they looked for more acquisitions, pointing out that, “we’re careful, disciplined inquirers of business…you’ll never find CRH overpaying.”

Manifold’s biggest deal to date came in 2015, with the acquisition of a whopping €6.5bn of LafargeHolcim’s assets, sold in order to satisfy regulators during their merger process.The deal saw 15,000 new employees transfer to CRH, which doubled its cement production volumes.

The group currently operates in 3,000 locations across 31 countries worldwide. With 89,000 employees, it manufactures 450 million tonnes of materials and is listed in Dublin, London and New York. It is now the largest building materials company in North America

LEADING LIGHT

Manifold, an accountant by trade, joined the group in 1998 after a career in private equity. Appointed finance director for the group’s Europe Materials unit, he drove expansion in eastern Europe before promotions to group development director (2004) and managing director of CRH Europe Materials (2007), when he took the lead in the group’s entry into Asia: its Chinese and Indian operations were built up under his watch. He joined the board in 2009 when he was appointed chief operating officer as the company weathered the construction industry collapse and financial crisis, and rose to the CEO’s office in 2014 following the retirement of Myles Lee.

 

Business & Finance Business Person of the Month

Business Person the MonthBusiness & Finance, in association with KPMG, recognises excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award. This award seeks to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.