Irish Times Business Person of the Month: Gene Murtagh

Kingspan’s market value rises to record high of €11.8bn

 

Gene Murtagh, chief executive of international insulation group Kingspan, has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Month for February, an award run in association with KPMG.

The Kingscourt, Co Cavan-based company’s market value rose to a record high of €11.8 billion last month on the day the group reported that its trading profit grew 11.6 per cent to a record €497.1 million in 2019.

Founded in Cavan in 1996 by Murtagh’s father, Eugene, and uncle, Brendan Murtagh, Kingspan’s sales have jumped 385 per cent to €1.65 billion since the current CEO took charge in 2005 – as the group expanded its global footprint and products, aided by well-judged acquisitions.

Shares in the company delivered an almost 1,000 per cent return for investors – including stock price appreciation and dividends - between Murtagh jnr’s first day at the helm and the latest results day.

The return on the wider Irish stock market was just 60 per cent over the same period.

Murtagh moved after share price spike to sell some of his stock, raising €5.37 million. Shares in the company have since fallen in line with the wider market, as investors consider the impact of the spread of the coronavirus on the global economy. However, analysts at German bank Berenberg said this week that Kingspan’s pullback offers a “rare entry point” for new investors.