Blackstone Nears Deal for CRH Europe Distribution Arm

(Bloomberg) -- CRH Plc, which counts activist investor Cevian Capital as an investor, agreed to sell its European plumbing and heating distribution business to Blackstone Group Inc. for 1.64 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in cash to create a more focused building-materials group.

The business supplying professional builders and home renovators generated sales of 3.7 billion euros and earnings of 155 million euros last year, Dublin-based CRH said in a statement on Tuesday. Bloomberg reported late Monday a deal with the U.S. private equity firm was imminent.

The sale marks CRH’s exit from distribution as Chief Executive Officer Albert Manifold steers the company toward higher growth markets including cement. As part of a more sweeping overhaul to generate cash for acquisitions, the CEO spent the “last several months” exploring options for the business, concluding that a sale would generate the most value for shareholders, according to the company.

Blackstone beat out other bidders, including Bain Capital and Lone Star Funds, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The distribution business also sells products such as roof tiles and flooring.

Shares of CRH gained 0.8% to 29.74 euros as of 8:13 a.m. in Dublin. The transaction will be “well received given the clean sale and the attractive price,” Davy analyst Robert Gardiner wrote in an investor note.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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