HomeBussinessCRH regrets difficulties faced by shareholders in US move

CRH regrets difficulties faced by shareholders in US move


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The chairperson of building materials group CRH has apologised to shareholders for difficulties that some of them experienced in the management of their shareholdings as a result of the move of the company’s primary listing to the US.

Speaking at the firm’s annual general meeting in Dublin, Richie Boucher acknowledged the challenges faced by a small number of shareholders during the process and described the situation as regrettable.

He said the move of the listing had led to the imposition of strict new regulatory requirements and the company has been working with its shareholder management firm, Computershare, to iron out any problems.

Mr Boucher said Computershare had expanded its assistance for shareholders and while most issues have now been resolved there remains a small number of isolated cases which they continue to work to fix.

A number of retail shareholders present at the meeting expressed their annoyance and dissatisfaction at how the situation had been handled, with one describing it as a “total disaster”.

“You should have looked after Irish shareholders better than you have done,” he said, adding that older shareholders who are unable to use computers had been “thrown under the bus”.

Mr Boucher said he was very disappointed to hear about the problems and apologised for the frustration caused.

He also told shareholders that the move of the primary listing to the New York Stock Exchange had been an important one for the company in terms of the opportunities it created and the subsequent stock market performance had been positive.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, at which all resolutions were passed, chief executive Albert Manifold said the rationale for the move had been that a huge amount of US government money is to be awarded in the years ahead.

He said the company had received very clear messages from both state and federal governments in the US that the money would be allocated to American companies, providing American jobs.

CRH makes about 75% of its profits in the US

“We had a satisfactory year last year, we had good growth in our profitability, our margins, our cash,” he said.

“And all of that was I think that we managed to kick on our business as a result of the move in September,” he added.

He added that the real benefit will be in the years ahead.

CRH’s chief financial officer Jim Mintern said the company is the largest building materials company in the US and there has been a lot of interest in the stock from investors there.

He said CRH is now technically eligible for admission into US indices, and the aspiration is to get to that as quickly as possible.

But he added that it was down to the discretion of the indices as to when they admit a firm, and so a timeline could not be put on when that might happen.

Asked about whether he had made any decisions about how much longer he would like to continue leading CRH after a decade in the job, Mr Manifold said he was focused on the job in front of him and there were no plans yet for him to step down.

The company gave no update on current trading performance at the AGM because it is currently in a closed period ahead of the publication of its first quarter results.

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