Belfast Telegraph

Kingspan eyes acquisitions as revenue hits £1.3bn

By Donal O'Donovan

Kingspan is eyeing acquisitions in India and Latin America as the Irish building materials group looks to diversify further into new, high growth markets.

The company already owns Kingspan Environmental, which employs nearly 800 people in Portadown, as well as Springvale Insulation, based in Ballyclare.

Shares surged 7.3% yesterday after Cavan-based Kingspan reported a 19% rise in global sales in the first six months of 2016, taking revenue to €1.47bn (£1.3bn). Profits were up 50% to €167.3m (£144m) in the same period, the company said in its first half financial results, bolstered by strong North America and European growth and a big increase in margins. Ireland was Kingspan's fastest growing market in the period - with sales up almost 50% to €59.5m (£51.3m) from €40.4m (£35m) at the same stage in 2015, the company said.

Chief executive Gene Murtagh said sales to the Irish construction sector are still as much as 60% to 70% below peak levels, but that the market here has seen continuous improvement since 2010. Ireland is now a relatively small market for Kingspan.

The overall results reflected the strongest ever six months period for the company, he said.

The UK, with sales of €410m (£353m) in the first six months of the year is Kingspan's biggest single market. Despite warnings that June's Brexit vote would dampen demand from the construction sector, Murtagh said there is no evidence so far of a slowdown there.

Since the June 23 vote, Kingspan's UK order book has increased by 7%, the company said. "There was a foregone conclusion about the impact of Brexit, but we can only track the facts and our business has preformed well (since the vote)," he said.

Big swings in the value of sterling before and since the UK vote to leave the European Union, have had an impact however, he said.

Every 1% move in sterling versus the euro has an impact of around €1.5m (£1.3m) on Kingspan, he said. But he described the impact so far of the UK vote as "nothing compared to 2009".

The company is now a major supplier of building supplies, expanding across the UK, continental Europe and North America.

Belfast Telegraph