RH has four plants in Ukraine and has been present in the country for around 25 years. It employs around 800 people there.
CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said business there has been suspended since the Russian invasion began last week. He said that both he and CRH’s chief financial officer, Jim Mintern, have spent a combined 10 years in Ukraine since the group first entered the country.
“I still have friends in Ukraine,” said Mr. Manifold. “It’s very personal for us. At the same time, of course, we have to be professional when it comes to how we run the business.”
The group offered to help employees and their families leave the country, but a general mobilization of fighting-age men initially meant that this help was slow to take up.
“Since the Russian invasion last week, we have locked down facilities – virtually all commercial activity has ceased,” he said.
“We secured the facilities, but more importantly, we secured our people,” he added.
“We’ve taken a lot of people west, where it’s safer. We house about 50 families who came from Kyiv and Odessa in our facility…which is in a fairly small rural town. There are around 200,000 residents – big for an Irish city but not big for this part of the world,” said Mr Manifold.
“It’s relatively safe [there],” he added. “There are no military or strategic installations nearby, or an airport nearby. We have offered to take people across the border, should they wish, since the beginning of this conflict.”
“It was clear very early on that the Ukrainian government did not want men of military age … to cross the border, so there was a great reluctance from families to separate for wives to leave their husbands behind,” the executive said.
“But in recent days, as the conflict has become more widespread and intense, it has been better received,” he added.
“As of this morning, 59 families have gone mainly to Romania and Poland,” he said. “We have big companies in Romania and Poland, so they don’t just go across the border and say, ‘Where to from here?'”
“We have people they meet, we take care of them,” Mr Manifold said. “Those who need it, we put them in hotels, give them money and food, cell phones so they can talk to people at home.”
He said any families who crossed the line met family or friends on the other side.
Mr Manifold said CRH has decided to exit a small business in Russia after previously deciding to end its presence there.
CRH released a set of record results this morning as the company delivered strong performances in its markets.
Revenue increased 12 percent to $31 billion (EUR 28 billion) and up 8 percent on a like-for-like basis. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 16 percent to $5.35 billion (€4.8 billion) — ahead of a $5.25 billion forecast the group made late last year.
After-tax profit more than doubled from $1.2 billion to $2.6 billion.
Earlier this week, CRH announced that it has agreed to sell its North American building envelope business to KPS Capital Partners for $3.8 billion, including $3.45 billion in cash.
https://www.independent.ie/business/crh-offering-local-staff-help-to-escape-ukraine-41406906.html CRH is offering to help local workers flee Ukraine