Irish building supplies company Kingspan said its pipeline of orders is encouraging, after an acquisition helped 2011 profit surged by more than a third to $122.38 million in a tough year for the construction industry.
Profit at the No.1 producer of insulation in Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australasia was boosted by the acquisition of CRH’s European insulation business at the end of 2010.
“If the year performs to our pipeline, it will be one of solid growth again but I wouldn’t anticipate the same level of growth year-on-year,” Chief Executive Gene Murtagh said earlier.
Kingspan has also weathered the downturn by taking advantage of a shift towards more energy-efficient building standards, particularly in its largest market, the UK.
But the economic outlook is uncertain. The euro zone economy is heading into its second recession in just three years, and the wider European Union will stagnate according to European Commission forecasts on Thursday.
Murtagh said there is a healthy pipeline of work, particularly in the food and retail markets in the UK, while its other European markets of Germany, and the Benelux region - other than the Netherlands — are relatively robust.
“On balance I would say things are reasonable in Europe and the mood has been picking up...I’d feel quite comfortable about the UK this year, our project pipeline is quite encouraging, and there is every chance that new build housing begins to rise again,” he said.
A moribund UK housing market continues to drag on underlying growth, but Bovis Homes said it expected a strong 2012 on Monday, echoing comments from other housebuilders last week.
Kingspan, which helped in the refurbishment of the landmark Savoy Hotel in London, said construction markets are likely to be uninspiring in the near term. Construction output in the UK fell 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, according to data on Friday.
Kingpsan posted full-year operating profit of 90.9 million euros ($122.38 million) in the 12 months to end-December, up from 67.4 million the previous year.
Market expectations for profit ranged between 84.0 million euros and 88.4 million euros with the average at 85.9 million according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 5 analysts.