Building materials group Kingspan Group has reported an 8% increase in sales for the first nine months of the year, but noted that sales growth slowed to 2% in the third quarter.

In a trading update for the nine months to September, Co Cavan-based Kingspan said that underlying sales - pre-currency and acquisitions - were up 2% in the year to date and were flat in the third quarter.

Kingspan said that its end markets overall are fragile, reflecting an uncertain global macro backdrop. 

"In particular, we are mindful of the deterioration in sentiment in some markets most notably in the UK. This is likely to influence sales activity in the first quarter of 2020 at least," it cautioned. 

"Whilst conscious that much of the seasonally variable fourth quarter is still at play, we expect to deliver full year trading profit of about €490m, or growth of approximately 10% versus 2018, and in line with consensus," it added.

Kingspan also said today that it had completed the acquisition of France's Group Bacacier earlier this month.

The company, an integrated metal profiling and insulated panel distributor with an extensive network across France, reported annual revenues of about €190m.

Breaking down its divisions, Kingspan said that sales at its Insulated Panel division rose by 9% in the first nine months of the year but grew by just 1% in the third quarter. 

Kingspan CEO Gene Murtagh

It noted that the pace of sales activity has decreased significantly in a number of key markets in recent months and it saw a "substantial" reduction in order intake in the UK in the third quarter with orders down by more than 15% in volume compared to the same time last year. 

It added that mainland European markets are relatively stable overall with the notable exception of Germany, while the Americas performed solidly overall in both sales and intake.

Sales in its Insulation Board division in the first nine months were up 3% and were down by 2% in the third quarter. 

Sales in the UK, Ireland and Germany eased considerably in the third quarter, offsetting growth in the US and Australia and Kingspan said those trends are expected to continue over the coming months.
Meanwhile, sales in the Light & Air division in the first nine months of 2019 and in the third quarter increased by 12%. Kingspan said that mainland Europe has been solid overall with a strong performance in the US reflecting a continuation of the trend seen earlier in the year.

The trading statement also showed that Water and Energy sales in the first nine months were up 3% and were down 3% in third quarter reflecting softness in the UK and reduced market activity in Australia.

And sales in its Data & Flooring division in the first nine months increased by 14% and by 10% in the third quarter, the company said.