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Kingspan sales up nearly 20% to hit £2.7bn in first nine months this year

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Gene Murtagh of Kingspan

Gene Murtagh of Kingspan

Gene Murtagh of Kingspan

Kingspan, the Irish building materials and insulation group employing 400 people in Northern Ireland, has reported sales of €3.18bn (£2.7bn) in the nine months to September 30.

This represents an 18% increase year-on-year.

Sales in the third quarter were up 24%. Underlying sales, pre-currency and acquisitions, were up 4% in the year to date, according to a trading update from the group.

Kingspan Environmental has large premises in Portadown, Co Armagh.

Chief executive Gene Murtagh said: "Overall, our end markets are reasonably stable and, while our orders-on-hand are strong, we remain cognisant of the general sense of nervousness prevailing globally.

"Assuming currency exchange rates remain relatively constant and, conscious that much of the seasonally variable fourth quarter is still at play, we expect to deliver full year trading profit of around €440m (£384m), or growth of approximately 15%."

Looking at the different segments, insulated panel sales in the first nine months increased by 20%.

The group said that its mainland European sales were "solid" in most markets, helped by the Synthesia and Balex businesses that were recently acquired, which Kingspan said were "performing to plan".

In the UK, insulated panel sales momentum improved through the third quarter, but activity on the medium and smaller project sizes remained subdued.

Meanwhile, the Americas continue to perform strongly "both in sales and order placement", according to the Cavan-based business.

Insulation board sales in the first nine months of the year were up 13%. In this segment the group said that mainland European sales have been a little subdued as it prioritises margin over volume.

Net debt at the end of September 2018 was €878.4m (£767m). Net debt at year end is forecast to be in the region of €750m (£655m).

Earlier this month, it emerged that the group was making up to 20 staff redundant at its Portadown site as it prepares to close its solar tubes manufacturing line.

The firm has also sold a speciality door company in the US for an estimated €5m (£4.4m).

Kingspan Environmental Ltd said the decision to close its solar tubes line follows continuing losses within the solar manufacturing operation, as well as an increase in raw material costs. "Kingspan, which employs 400 people in Northern Ireland, has notified those affected of its decision which may see up to 20 staff made redundant," said the group.

"Kingspan regrets having to take this decision and will work with everyone concerned on redeployment opportunities."

In the US, Kingspan has sold Hercules, a manufacturer of controlled environment doors, to Senneca Holdings, Cincinnati.

The latter manufactures and distributes doors including traffic, corrosion-resistant, strip, cold storage, fire, and sliding doors.

Alswinn Kieboom, president of Kingspan Insulated Panels, said that Kingspan will continue to provide Hercules doors as an integral part of its offering.

Belfast Telegraph