Shares up at CRH and Grafton Group as market closes

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Several companies posted results on Thursday but activity on the Irish Stock Exchange was limited after it was shut down at noon due to the severe weather conditions.

Profits at Irish building materials giant CRH rose more than 15 per cent to €2billion last year, the group said. Shares climbed more than 2.1 per cent in early trading but fell back to just under 1 per cent by close of business.

AIB reported a slight fall in profits during 2017, but net interest margin rose as the ongoing economic recovery helped boost its figures. It traded down 2 per cent, although this can be attributed to an artificially high close on Wednesday.

Grafton Group, the owner of DIY chain Woodie’s, said revenue rise 9 per cent to a record £2.7 billion (€3.04 billion) last year. It closed the day up about 0.5 per cent.

Pretax profit at food company Total Produce surged in 2017, rising 43 per cent to €72.5 million as acquisitions impacted the company’s balance sheet.

The fresh produce group, which last month announced a major deal with Dole Food Company in the US, said revenue rose almost 14 per cent last year, reaching €4.29 billion.

However, the company’s shares finished the day down 2 per cent. An analyst with Davy attributed the dip to “slightly weaker than expected” international business.

Independent News and Media, which hosted an extraordinary general meeting at which chairman Leslie Buckley stepped down on Thursday, saw shares drop close to 1 per cent.

Elsewhere, Aryzta, the parent of Cuisine de France, finished the day down 4 per cent, while commercial property companies Green Reit and Ires Reit also traded lower.

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