CRH has swung to a loss for the half year period after sales revenue dropped three per cent and the profit on disposals declined significantly.
The building materials group reported a loss of €71m euro, compared to a profit of €102m euro for the same half the previous year, blaming the change on ongoing weakness in construction activity, and warned it expects challenging trading conditions in Europe for the remainder of 2013.
Sales revenue for the six-month period declined 3% from €8.27bn to €8.01bn, while EBITDA slumped 24% from €523m to €397m, as CRH had predicted.
The group maintained a dividend payment of 18.5c per share.
Chief Executive, Myles Lee, said: "Although recent economic indicators suggest that the Eurozone may be emerging from recession, overall construction activity remains weak and we expect challenging trading conditions in Europe for the remainder of 2013.
"In the US, economic growth is estimated to have strengthened over recent quarters and we expect second half EBITDA to be ahead of last year. Overall for CRH, we expect EBITDA for the second half of the year to be in line with last year (restated 2012: €1.04bn).
"The group continues to focus on cost management, operational excellence, value-adding acquisitions and strong cash generation, and is well-positioned to progress as markets recover."
Net debt at June 30th totalled €4.19bn, €352m higher than the figure reported at the same date in 2012, which the company said reflected acquisition and investment activity of €755m during the 12-month period. In line with the normal seasonal pattern of the group's trading, net debt increased by €1.28bn during the six-month period.
The group said that while it is "well-positioned to progress" as markets recover, overall construction activity "remains weak" despite recent economic indicators suggesting that the Eurozone may be emerging from recession.
"Within our own businesses the rate of overall like-for-like revenue decline has continued to moderate since mid-year with the changes most marked in our Materials activities in Poland and Ukraine where our cement volumes over the last six weeks have exceeded 2012 levels.
"While Switzerland and Finland continue to be resilient, activity in the Netherlands, one of our major markets, is still at a low level. In addition, the overall 2013 industry pricing environment in Europe has been constrained by the very difficult demand conditions experienced in the early months.
"In the Americas, economic growth in the United States is estimated to have strengthened over recent quarters despite budgetary uncertainties at Federal government level [and] we expect EBITDA for the Americas to be ahead of 2012 in the second half."
Growth in referrals and patient numbers helped Abu Dhabi healthcare and distribution group NMC Health to a strong first half result.
One of the largest private healthcare providers in the United Arab Emirates, where mandatory health insurance legislation is looming, FTSE 250-listed NMC grew revenues 14.7% to $273.1m and EBITDA by 16.1% to $46.1m.
Cash levels down 3.5% to $248.6m and net debt up 17.1% to $54m were both better than expected, the company said, as a result of changed phasing of capital expenditure and strong operational performance.
Chief Executive Officer Dr BR Shetty attributed the success to a focus on clinical specialities and Centres of Excellence, together with a push on new product lines in the Distribution division.
Both divisions accelerated on the growth reported in 2012 results, with Healthcare arm growing EBITDA 20.2% and Distribution 11.5%.
Although the board did not declare an interim dividend, he added: "Our financial position remains strong, and with good macro-economic conditions in the UAE, we have announced a further expansion of our Healthcare division with the development of a new facility in Al Ain."
NMC saw a good increase in inpatient numbers across its three speciality hospitals, with an investment in increasing the number of doctors in the business from 392 to 440 since June last year, as well as an increase in referrals from third party doctors following a marketing focus.
An increase in average revenue per patient of 9.2% to $112 was better than expected.