(MT Newswires) -- CRH CEO Albert Manifold discusses the tragic bridge collapse in Baltimore caused by a collision with a freighter. Manifold says that a full assessment of the incident will take time, and that it is too early for a definitive analysis. He highlights CRH's expertise in the rapid and sustainable reconstruction of infrastructure using modular construction methods.

He also mentions the impact of rising energy costs on building materials, but points out that these costs are only a fraction of the total budget required to rebuild major infrastructure, which also includes labour and civil works.

The CEO highlights the significant opportunity for CRH in US infrastructure projects, reinforced by the company's recent transfer of its listing to the US, where it makes 75% of its profits. He points to US stimulus packages such as the IIJA, the IRA and the Chips and Science Act, which will support construction spending and stimulate economic growth.

He points to CRH's continued growth and profitability, with 2023 marking a tenth consecutive year of profit and margin growth, a trend that is expected to continue into 2024. With infrastructure accounting for 50% of total construction in the US, the outlook for CRH is positive.

Manifold explains that CRH expects to generate $35 billion in free cash flow over five years, with $25 billion earmarked for business expansion, including acquisitions, and $10 billion returned to shareholders in the form of share buybacks and dividends. He stresses the importance of the regularity of dividends, with uninterrupted growth for 50 years, compared with share buy-backs, which are used to redistribute surplus cash. 

Bloomberg videos