Building products group Kingspan has said that it has seen a strong start to the year, with tentative signs of a recovery in continental Europe and a buoyant UK market. 

In a trading statement this morning ahead of its AGM in Dublin, the group said that sales so far this year are €561m, 8% ahead of last year. 

The Co-Cavan based firm said that the Benelux market had shown early signs of recovery, while Germany remained solid. 

In North America, Kingspan said that its insulated panel business continues to advance but there is "limited evidence" of a wider market recovery there.

But the Middle East continues to be "quite active", while Australia started the year well as penetration continues to grow, the company added.

Kingspan said its funding position is "robust" and was helped by the recent re-pricing and term extension of its syndicated bank facility to March 2019.

The company said that its order backlog points towards a strong first half for the business. "Activity levels generally across our markets are encouraging", Kingspan added. 

"We remain mindful of the prevailing geo-political uncertainty and its potential to upset what has so far been a relatively nebulous recovery. Notwithstanding this, growing conversion, a strong innovation pipeline, and the greater worldwide focus on energy efficiency, leaves us confident about Kingspan’s longer term future", today's trading statement concluded. 

Kingspan shares closed 1.6% lower in Dublin trade today.