August 22, 2016 / 8:27 AM / a year ago

UK orders keep rising at Irish building group Kingspan after Brexit vote

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish building materials group Kingspan (KSP.I) said new orders at its large UK business had risen by 7 percent year-on-year since the end of June, dispelling fears that it would be hit by Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Kingspan, a leading maker of insulation products in Britain where it generates over a quarter of its revenue, reported a 50 percent rise in first-half profits on Monday thanks to strong North America and European growth and a big increase in margins.

It said it expected a solid performance in the second half with group revenue since June 30 comfortably ahead year-on-year and specifically singled out the order growth in Britain where the longer term project pipeline "remained robust".

Chief Executive Gene Murtagh said fears the UK business would suffer after Britons voted to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum had not yet materialised.

"It's kind of a foregone conclusion that this is going to be a bit of a catastrophe but frankly from a trading perspective, we haven't seen any sign whatsoever of that," Murtagh told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"The June 23 vote has led to uncertainty but it hasn't led to any tangible change in the market as far as we can glean and whether it does or not, to be quite frank, is still something people don't understand."

Murtagh said the jury was still out on whether a slowdown in sentiment in the UK would translate into lower investment, adding to the mixed reports from the sector since the referendum.

A survey earlier this month showed that the UK construction industry suffered its sharpest downturn in seven years in July following the vote but others, including Kier Group (KIE.L) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.L), have reported little impact so far.

Shares in Kingspan were 4.9 percent higher at 23.9 euros by 0800 GMT, returning to the level seen before June 23 after fully recovering the 25 percent loss recorded in the aftermath.

Editing by Adrian Croft

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