Kingspan eyes up Asia in drive to diversify and grow


IRELAND’S representative at this month’s HSBC International Exchange China was insulation and building materials specialist Kingspan, which is exploring ways to break in to the Asian market.

The annual event in Shanghai brings businesses from around the world to China and HSBC briefs them on opportunities and makes introductions as delegates share ideas on best practice.

“This visit was about eyes and ears. Our attendance at the HSBC event was part of understanding the region and how we take it forward,” said Tom Paul, who is director of business development at Cavan-based Kingspan.

The group specialises in building solutions for the construction industry and products include insulated panels and boards, and environmental products such as waste and surface water management.

Kingspan has operations in Australia and New Zealand, with sales operations in Hong Kong and Pune in India. It sells some products into Asia from there, but it is hoping to expand in the region. Australasia accounts for 4 per cent of group business.

Mr Paul spent four weeks in southeast Asia earlier in the year. He visited Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia exploring possibilities for the group. “It is a region we are looking at and it’s a question of understanding it. All the other developed economies are sub 2 per cent growth, the economies there are 7 per cent plus.” he said.

Kingspan has looked outside Ireland since the recession began, and earlier this month it bought ThyssenKrupp Construction Group, the insulation business of German giant ThyssenKrupp, for €65 million. “We understand the macroeconomics, but for Kingspan we want to find where there are market opportunities to develop into sales opportunities,” said Mr Paul.

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