Kingspan sales slump 35% in April as construction is hit globally

Trading in the Americas ‘robust so far’ as construction has been deemed an essential service in most US markets

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh: the company’s  bank debt currently stands at €551m

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh: the company’s bank debt currently stands at €551m

 

Insulation giant Kingspan said on Thursday that its sales slumped 35 per cent in the normally busy month of April as construction markets globally were hit by the Covid-19 crisis, with activity in Ireland down 80 per cent.

“As a consequence we currently expect to record a result close to breakeven overall for April, a month of significant profitability in a normal year. This trading run rate is expected to persist through the coming weeks at the very least,” the company said in a trading update, a day ahead of agm.

Trading in the Americas has been “robust so far” as construction has been deemed an essential services in most US markets, as has activity in Germany and parts of central Europe. However, France and southern Europe “have been particularly weak”.

“Activity in Ireland has been down by over 80 per cent versus prior year, a clear standout. UK activity is less than half what it was in April last year,” it said.

The Cavan-based group, led by chief executive Gene Murtagh, said that its bank debt currently stand at €551 million, taking into account an acquisition completed in April.

Kingspan has in excess of €1 billion of cash on hand and committed undrawn facilities, and expects its bank borrowings to be around €580 million by the middle of the year.

For the first quarter of the year group sales were down 3 per cent on the same period in 2019, and would have been off 7 per cent had it not been for a revenue boost from acquisitions.

Insulation panels sales declined 2 per cent during the period, while insulation board revenues were 8 per cent lower.

Sales in its light and air division rose 1 per cent, while data and flooring sales were up 17 per cent, reflecting strong growth in data centre construction in Europe, North America and Asia.