Allied Building Products, the American distribution unit of Irish building material giant CRH, recorded a 147% jump in operationg profit last year to ?37 million ($51.1 million at current exchange rates) even though sales increased only 6% to ?1.2 billion ($1.7 billion), CRH reported today.

East Rutherford, N.J.-based Allied's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 54% to ?60 million (US$82.8 million) during 2010 from the previous year. Exterior products, which include roofing and asphalt materials, accounted for 85% of EBITDA, while interior products, which includes wallboard, accounted for 15% of EBITDA.

EBITDA as percent of sales grew to 4.8% for the year from 3.3%, while operating profit as percent of sales more than doubled to 3% from 1.3%.

CRH said roughly 92% of Allied's ?66 million ($91.1 million) in sales growth last year was actually the result the the euro's weakening against the dollar; the euro averaged roughly 5% less in dollar terms in 2010 than it bought in 2009, the company said. Another 5% of sales growth came from acquisitions--it bought Olympic Supply, a one-store roofing operation in Sacramento, Calif.--and 3% was due to organic growth.

On the other hand, CRH said only 4% of Allied's ?22 million (US$30.4 million) operating profit increase was due to exchange-rate factors. It attributed 82% of the increase to organic improvements and 14% as the result of restructuring.

"Since 2008, Allied has closed or merged 27 locations, many in smaller markets, and added three locations," CRH said. "This process has provided an opportunity to evaluate Allied's market footprint and to position the business for future opportunities. In addition, the business has concentrated on purchasing and transportation initiatives, rationalisation of administrative and geographic oversight functions, thereby increasing efficiency, control and profitability. This aggressive operating approach has substantially benefited 2010 operating results."

Allied also launched a new private-label product initiative called TriBuilt Materials during 2010. The program is designed to differentiate Allied in the market at the same time building a brand identity. The company currently operates more than 180 locations throughout the U.S. with approximately 3,400 employees.

Company-wide, CRH posted revenue of ?17.2 billion ($23.8 billion) with a gross profit of ?4.8 billion ($6.6 billion), down from the ?4.9 billion (US$6.8 billion) gross profit the company had in 2009.