Kingscourt, Ireland – Insulated panel maker Kingspan had a solid first quarter, but said 'he landscape changed markedly from the middle of March onward. The company issued a trading statement today (30 April) ahead of its AGM tomorrow.
Sales in insulated panels were down 2% in the first quarter. They would have been down 8%, but acquisitions helped boost the number. UK sales were 'well behind, reflecting the negative order intake flagged in the fourth quarter of 2019'.
Sales in Germany were also down, but there were brighter spots for sales in the US and Brazil. At the end of the quarte,r the order book is 5% ahead of last year, the company said.
There was an 8% drop in insulation boards sales in the quarter because of price falls. PIR activity in the UK was softer than the year before. Business in mainland Europe was steady, North America and Australia were good, but Irish sales were down in the quarter.
Kingspan said that enforced lockdowns in the coronavirus pandemic significantly changed the landscape form the mid-March. It said its worldwide sales were down almost 35% on April 2019. Germany, France, southern Europe have been particularly weak. Irish sales are down 80%, and sales in the UK are less than half those in April 2019.
The company expects to be close to break-even in April. Looking to the long erterm, Kingspan said it is well diversified in terms of products and geographies, and that this should help it weather the storm.