Building supplies sales are up since the UK voted to leave the EU

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Kingspan says the sales of building supplies in the UK has improved since the Brexit vote was made, with no evidence yet that leaving will be bad for the sector

The largest producer of building insulation in Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australasia said building supplies sales in Britain have improved since the Brexit vote.

Irish firm Kingspan said there was no evidence yet to suggest Brexit’s impact will ultimately be negative for the sector.

The firm beat expectations of analysts by reporting it had improved its profits last year. Kingspan said it had seen a 33 per cent gain, which had been buoyed by the strength of UK sales during the second half of the year.

A trading profit of €341m for the year was reported, while the average forecast by a Reuters poll of seven analysts was estimated to be €330m .

Improved activity despite Brexit vote

Kingspan’s chief executive Gene Murtagh spoke to Reuters. He said: “Bizarrely activity has been better since June 23 than it was before. We had a particularly strong finish to the year.

“The foregone conclusion is it’s going to be negative, but I don’t know enough to say that,” he said. “We’ve no idea what Brexit actually means.”

Murtagh also revealed that when compared to the same period last year the 2017 order book for Kingspan was “solidly ahead”.

However, activity across continental Europe is seeing a shift in economic growth. Germany, in particular, has flat lined on activity while Belgium and the Netherlands are seeing improvements.

France, on the other hand, has seen strong growth.

Furthermore, there has been little indication of a boost to US construction following President Donald Trump taking office, said Murtagh.

Kingspan said it faced key challenges this year, including the rapid rise in cost inflation in steel and chemical. Murtagh said he was confident the company can pass it on, but this could take some time.

“More than likely it would be in the first quarter that the lag would be obvious,” he said.

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