CEO Gene Murtagh said his company had delivered a resilient first half result in what he described as a period of unparalleled challenges. ‘Performance has varied substantially from region to region, depending on the severity and length of government restrictions,’ he said.
'With over EUR1bn cash and undrawn [borrowing] facilities we are well placed to come through the crisis in a strong position. We have completed our agreed terms on three major business acquisitions with revenue totalling over EUR400m. We also continue our organic expansion with new facilities being developed in locations including Russia, Brazil and Sweden.'
The company will not be paying an interim dividend.
In the company's insulated panels business, sales started well in the half with order backlog up 8% on the previous year, but coronavirus lockdowns hit that business outside the Americas.
The US and Brazilian businesses continued to trade almost uninterrupted by the pandemic. In Canada, however, severe lockdown measures were imposed, and sales were significantly below the 2019 level. Overall in the division, sales dropped by 7.8% between the first half of 2019 and 2020, to EUR1.3bn. Trading profit in the division declined by 15.8%, to EUR123m.
Geographic performance in the insulation boards sector matched that for the panels business, and sales shrank by 18.2% between the 2019 and 2020 periods.
Trading profit fell slightly faster, and was down by 20% at EUR48m, compared with EUR60.0m in the period last year.