Insulation and building materials manufacturer Kingspan has said it is expecting a full year trading profit which will be marginally higher than last year.

In a trading update for the nine months to the end of September, Kingspan said that sales fell  by 5% to  €3.27 billion, with sales growth of 1% in the third quarter. 

The Co-Cavan based company said that underlying sales (pre-currency and acquisitions) were down 10% in the year to date and by 6% in the third quarter.

But Kingspan said that overall, its end markets are in reasonable shape bearing in mind the uncertain and evolving backdrop. 

It said that in this environment it is difficult to see too far ahead and trading patterns can evolve quickly.

"Our raw material costs are on the rise at present and, with the customary lag anticipated, a challenging recovery effort is underway," it stated. 

"Trading in the fourth quarter to date has been strong helped to an extent by accelerated demand in the expectation of inflation led price increases in the coming months," it said.

"Whilst conscious that much of the seasonally variable fourth quarter is still at play, in what is an untypical year, we expect to deliver a full year trading profit marginally ahead of 2019," it added.

In today's trading update, Kingspan said its Insulated Panel sales decreased by 6% in the first nine months and by 3% in the third quarter. 

It noted that sales and order intake activity in a number of key markets were positive during the third quarter, adding that France and Germany have been busy while the UK has been softer albeit with a more recent improvement in order intake. 

Sales at its Insulation Board in the first nine months were down 14% and down 5% in the third quarter.

Kingspan said that volumes improved through the third quarter with raw material related price deflation in the earlier part of the period partially offsetting this.

It said that sales in the UK, Ireland and much of Continental Europe performed well through the third quarter.

The Asia Pacific region consolidated the progress seen in the first half whilst the Middle East has been a more challenging environment while activity in the US was positive through the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Kingspan's Light & Air division saw sales in the first nine months jump by 30% and by 46% in the third quarter. 

European sales overall were solid in the third quarter although the US was sluggish versus a demanding comparative. Kingspan said the Colt acquisition, completed in April, has continued to integrate and perform well. 

Sales at Kingspan's Data & Flooring in the first nine months were up 6% and up 7% in the third quarter. Underlying sales were behind by 5% in the first nine months and were ahead by 3% in the third quarter. Datacentre demand globally is robust offsetting a weaker office market, it added. 

Finally, Kingspan said that sales at its Water and Energy division in the first nine months decreased by 5% and increased by 4% in the third quarter with waste water and rain water harvesting solutions notable positives.