Kingspan's Irish activity slumps over 80% in April

Updated / Thursday, 30 Apr 2020 10:09

Kingspan is due to hold its AGM tomorrow

Building materials group Kingspan said it expects to be close to breakeven in the usually highly profitable month of April after sales fell 35% year on year because of the enforced halt to construction activity in many markets. 

In a trading update issued ahead of its AGM tomorrow, Kingspan said that France and Southern Europe have been particularly weak.

Activity in Ireland is down by over 80% compared to the same time last year, which it called "a clear standout". 

UK activity is less than half what it was in April last year, but Kingspan added that the Americas has been robust so far as has Germany and parts of Central Europe. 

"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 added.

The company has sought to offset the collapse in sales by cutting executive pay by 50% and for the rest of its 14,500 staff by 40% for an initial two-month period from April 1. 

Co Cavan-based Kingspan said today it was difficult to look ahead with "any modicum of certainty" but its market diversification, innovation and balance sheet strength make it well positioned for the longer term. 

That included in excess of €1 billion of cash on hand and committed undrawn facilities. 

It said it continues to focus on the aspects of its business that it can control and to ensure Kingspan is positioned to respond rapidly to activity swings in either direction. 

"This challenge, without underestimating it, will inevitably pass and whilst its duration and medium term impacts are unclear we are confident that the diversification of our end markets, the innovation of our high performance proposition, our balance sheet strength and the resolve of our people all position Kingspan well for the longer term," the company added.