Building materials group Kingspan recorded a 15% increase in revenue for the first six months of the year, reaching over €2 billion for the first time. Trading profit also came in well ahead of expectation, rising 10% to €195m.

The company spent €265m on acquisitions during the period, which accounted for 15% of Kingspan's sales growth and 12% of trading profit.

Kingspan's Chief Executive Gene Murtagh said the company has recovered from a sluggish start to the year.

"It was a slow start but momentum picked up very significantly in the second quarter with overall revenue up approx. 20% in that period, so a good recovery."

Kingspan spent €265m on acquisitions in the first half of the year, entering a broad range of new markets from Southern Europe to India and Latin America.

Mr Murtagh said investments are clearly a big part of the company's growth strategy.

"Penetration rates for products in the near or home markets have obviously reached very high levels over recent years so we have to go further to search for growth and that's taken us into Latin America, India more recently, and a very substantial move into Southern Europe with the acquisition of Synthesia.

"But I'd say the former two in terms of South America and India would be very small users of high-performance insulation. Energy wouldn't be a particularly major subject in those regions so we see tremendous long-term growth in those geographies."

This strategy of acquisitions has seen Kingspan's net debt rise significantly - from €440m this time last year to around €740m.

On the debt issue, the Kingspan CEO said: "From our perspective it's about how that ratio measures with our profitability and our cash flow and as a company we would have an internal ceiling comfort level of around two times debt to EBITDA, which is effectively debt to annual cash flow.

"And even at that number we could be significantly the right side of that."

On further acquisitions for the remainder of the year, Mr Murtagh said "as it stands that will be currently hard because we have just completed a large acquisition in Poland called Balex and typically our strongest cash flow period is the second half so that unwinds significantly.

"So by year-end I'll expect we will be around 1.5 or 1.6 times (debt-to-EBITDA ratio) and that for us is exceptionally comfortable."

The UK still accounts for around a quarter of Kingspan's revenue and like most other big companies, in the results this morning it points out the need to see more clarity on the Brexit front.

The rhetoric we've seen from the British government in recent days suggests it's stepping up preparations for a no-deal scenario. 

The Kingspan CEO said it would be "honestly really hard to assess" the fallout for Kingspan.

He added: "I think you can assume it means a lot of chaos to start with followed by some sense. But the actual impact of that ... is so unknown we couldn't judge it until we're virtually in that scenario. 

"So I can tell you that we'll be highly agile whenever we get there."

CSO figures earlier in the week showed the level of new builds in Ireland had ramped up significantly, but is still well below what we need to see to properly address the country's housing crisis.

On the Irish housing crisis, Mr Murtagh said there is "clearly a supply problem that has been well noted, so even though the statistics are showing a significant rise in particularly housing output, it's probably at about half the level it needs to be to satisfy demand.

"And even at that level, it's a fraction of what it was ten or 12 years ago, so supply is the key. We've got to release supply to the market and the construction industry materials supply end is ever ready to that obviously, but it needs land and it needs activity."