By Liz White, UT staffDublin, Ireland-Major Irish building products maker and distributor CRH plc continues to expand, signalling development spending in the second half of 2004 totalling Euro 309 million on 25 projects. CRH’s insulation group-only a small part of the group’s extensive activities in quarrying, materials and building products-expanded its UK manufacturing base in the UK in November 2004 by acquiring the polyurethane/ polyisocyanurate (PUR/PIR) activities of Danish group Icopal. This unit, with annual sales of Euro 16 million ($20.8 million), “provides additional manufacturing capacity to take advantage of anticipated growth in the UK insulation market,” said CRH in a prepared statement. In October last year, CRH’s insulation group also bought the outstanding 50 percent stake in EcoTherm, which makes polyurethane insulation products. Ecotherm has annual sales of Euro 55 million, with plants in the Netherlands and the UK. “EcoTherm provides a strong base for further development to meet increasingly stringent insulation standards in all European markets.CRH is also growing its expanded polystyrene insulation business.The firm bought Estonian EPS maker Mabo Aumek in October 2004, a deal which it said in the company statement, “complements CRH’s existing EPS insulation activities in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.” According to Liam O’Mahony, CRH chief executive, “2004 has been another strong year for CRH from a development perspective with total spend exceeding Euro 1000 million.”
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