CRH has the firepower to spend up to ?2bn per year on acquisitions, its chief executive Liam O'Mahony has said.

This year, analysts are forecasting that the building giant will spend a record ?1.63bn on acquisitions, and while O'Mahony will not comment on this year's expected spend he has indicated that CRH has the wherewithal to increase its annual spending on deals.

"The rights issue has given us the capability to go and do ?1.5bn or ?2bn worth of deals [per year] indenitely, " according to O'Mahony. But while CRH has up to ?2bn to spend, it intends to invest the money wisely, he added. "Spending money is easy. It's getting the return afterwards that is the difcult thing."

Last week CRH announced its largest ever acquisition, the ?700m purchase of the Dutch building group Cementbouw. But the purchase price was for Cementbouw is less than 10% of CRH's market value and O'Mahony said the company had the "physical capability and the nancial capability to do signicantly larger deals than that."