Materials firm says current situation unlikely to change for next few weeks

Materials giant Kingspan said global revenue has slumped by one third this month with business in the UK crashing by more than half meaning the firm will only just about break even in April.

It said sales this month, one of the firm’s key trading periods, were down by 35% with France and southern Europe, which includes Spain and Italy, countries which have imposed stringent lockdowns to deal with the covid-19 crisis, particularly weak.


Demand for Kingspan products in the UK fell by more than half in April

Business in Ireland nosedived by 80% and Kingspan said workloads in the UK had been hit by the lockdown imposed by Boris Johnson more than five weeks ago. “UK activity is less than half what it was in April last year,” it said.

And in a first quarter trading update this morning, it warned investors: “As a consequence we currently expect to record a result close to break even 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.”

But there was better news from its operations in the Americas, Germany and central Europe where it said business had help up.

The firm said income in the first quarter of this year, the three months to the end of March, was down 7% like-for-like on last year with sales of €1.03bn (£880m).

The firm said the covid-19 pandemic “did not significantly impact activity for most of the first quarter” but admitted that trading conditions changed dramatically in the second half of last month.

Kingspan, which said it has access to more than €1bn (£860m) of cash on hand and committed undrawn facilities, said it expected debt in the half year to June to be €580m (£496m) – down from the €633m (£541m) it posted at the end of last year.

It is due to announce its interim results for the six months to 30 June on 21 August.