KINGSPAN SAYS ORDER BOOK WELL AHEAD OF THIS TIME LAST YEAR - While it is not a particularly big part of the building materials group Kingspan's business, sales in Ireland are beginning to turn around for the company. Half year results filed by Kingspan, which specialises in environmentally friendly and low energy products such as insulation panels, show a 19% growth in Irish sales revenue at its insulation panels division. Overall Kingspan reported 13% revenue growth to €858m, and €47m in pre-tax profit, up from €44.5m the same period last year. The company benefited from a couple of acquisitions completed late last year without which its revenue would have fallen over the first six months of this year compared to 2012.

Kingspan's chief executive Gene Murtagh says that the two companies - ThyssenKrupp Construction in Germany and Rigidal Industries in the United Arab Emirates - bought in the second half of last year have bedded in well. While the first quarter was slow, Mr Murtagh says that the underlying business is improving around the world, with the improved momentum following into the third quarter.

Welcoming better economic news from the euro zone and the rest of the world, Mr Murtagh says that a lift in consumer confidence is followed by a lift in consumer spending, but this may take some time to work down to Kingspan's operations and an improvement in construction and refurbishment. But he says the company ''bounced out'' of the second quarter of 2013 quite well and the company's order book is well ahead of the same time last year.


MORNING BRIEFS - College students taking up places in Dublin universities may have to deal with rising rents, according to new figures from property website Its latest report shows that in Dublin are now 7.5% higher than they were a year ago. That is explained by the fact that the number of properties available to rent has fallen by more than 40% over the past 12 months. Property prices seem to be picking up in some selected areas while continuing to fall in others and the rental market also illustrates the contrasting fortunes of Irish cities and regions. The Daft report notes, for example, that while rents are rising in Dublin they remain on a downward trajectory in Waterford.

*** The Guardian has picked up on a previously unreported tax settlement involving a subsidiary of mobile operator Vodafone based in Ireland. It says Vodafone used a company called Vodafone Ireland Marketing through which to route hundreds of millions of euro worth of royalty payments originating from around the world. Accounts just filed by the subsidiary, though, show that in 2009 the company settled a dispute with the British Revenue Commissioners which involved reclaiming several million euro in taxes paid here but which should have been paid in the UK. The actual sum involved was not disclosed.