Kingspan and Standard Industries drop out of Firestone bid

Bridgestone’s building products unit expected to fetch $2.5bn

Irish group Kingspan has pulled out of the €2 billion race for Bridgestone's Firestone Building Products business.

Kingspan and building materials maker Standard Industries had been named as likely suitors for roofing materials manufacturer Firestone, which has been for sale for several weeks.

It emerged on Tuesday that both decided against bidding for the business, which Bridgestone reportedly hoped would fetch more than $2.5 billion (€2 billion). Monday was the deadline for offers.

Insulation and building products group Kingspan said it never comments on transaction speculation.


“Kingspan is a disciplined buyer that continues to seek exposure to energy conservation opportunities that complement our existing focus within the building envelope,” the company said. Its statement made no reference to the Firestone sale which is being held in private.

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh has regularly acknowledged that the group is constantly looking for businesses to buy, but has always stressed that any acquisition must offer good value to the company.

The Bridgestone subsidiary, part of the Japanese industrial conglomerate’s North American division, makes roofing for commercial buildings. The sale also previously attracted interest from private equity business, Carlisle Cos, sources said.

No final decisions have been made, and the suitors could opt to return to the negotiating table or another buyer could emerge.

Kingspan’s decision was not tied to its recent apology for historic shortcomings prompted by an inquiry into the 2017 fire at a tower block in Grenfell, London, where 72 people died. Part of the Irish group’s UK operation supplied a small quantity of insulation used on the building. However, it emerged Kingspan had relied on the results of flawed tests to market the product used on Grenfell.

Bridgestone said the firm is exploring opportunities to unlock value for employees, customers and shareholders and to support the long-term growth plan for Firestone Building Products.

As the Firestone auction was underway, an investment vehicle linked to Standard Industries called 40 North made a $4 billion takeover offer for US chemical producer WR Grace. The company has so far rejected the offer, escalating tensions with the top shareholder.

Additional reporting: Bloomberg