Kingspan to reinstate its dividend in bullish move

IRISH building materials group Kingspan beat earnings forecasts and resumed dividend payments yesterday as firm orders defied fears of a slump back in to recession in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe.

“There’s a fierce amount of negativity out there but it’s not evidenced in our order books,” chief executive Gene Murtagh said.

“For the next six months there doesn’t appear to be any panic at all,” he said, adding that the group expected to pay a full-year dividend.

Murtagh declined to give specific full-year earnings guidance but said it would be disappointing not to at least achieve market consensus for full-year operating profit of €59m (£48m).

In 2007, at the height of the property boom, Kingspan generated operating profit of €230m.

Britain accounts for over half of group turnover and Murtagh said Kingspan had yet to quantify what impact public sector cutbacks in that country would have on its bottom line.“The impact of austerity is really 2011,” he said.

Robert Eason, analyst with Goodbody Stockbrokers, said robust trade in Europe and the US provided a cushion against UK cutbacks.