B&F Business Person of the Month, April 2014 – Gene Murtagh, Kingspan
In 2013, Kingspan saw increased profitability and a higher return on capital that improved the dividend for the Group despite challenging market conditions.
“With some tentative signs of improved economic stability and sentiment, Kingspan remains focused on its core strategy of delivering innovation, prudent management and a widening global footprint, ” Gene Murtagh, CEO of Kingspan said.
Kingspan Group plc is global leader in high performance insulation, building fabric and solar integrated building envelopes, and has already reported a strong start for 2014, with sales up 10% in 2013 to €1.79bn and trading profit up 14% to €122.8m.
Continental Europe is showing tentative signs of recovery, and the UK market is relatively buoyant across all key sectors. Group sales of €561m in the first four months were 8% ahead of the previous year, or 9% ahead at constant exchange rates, according to Murtagh. “The general pick-up in activity in the UK, which we saw in the final quarter of 2013, has continued into the early part of 2014. The Benelux market has shown early signs of recovery … and Germany remains solid. In North America, our Insulated panel business continues to advance, driven by market penetration gains. The Middle East continues to be quite active, and Australia started the year well as penetration continues to grow.”
Insulated Panel sales revenues were up 14% in the first four months of 2014 with all key markets recording growth, reflecting increased market activity. The sales performance also reflects a good first quarter from Kingspan Energy which should be well positioned to deliver its full year sales target.
Access Floor sales revenues in the UK were ahead, driven by a buoyant London office market and there is some evidence of a potential improvement in office activity in the US for 2015.
The Group’s next generation insulation, Optim-R also entered production in the UK during the period, and a new insulation board facility in Burkhardtsdorf in eastern Germany is scheduled to be fully commissioned by mid-year.
In February, Kingspan completed the acquisition of Dri-Design, a high-end architectural façades business in the US with annual revenues of approximately $25m
Kingspan Group was also recognised as one of the UK’s leading business brands this year in the Superbrands league table. The prestigious independent annual listing coordinated by The Centre for Brand Analysis, has been identifying the strongest brands based on quality, reliability and distinction.
Speaking about the strength of the brand Murtagh said: “At Kingspan we are committed to developing, new, better and more efficient solutions to meet the industry’s changing needs. We ensure that all our products are backed with clear, comprehensive technical support and guidance to deliver the best possible results for all our customers. We are delighted that the continuing hard work of staff across all of our divisions to achieve these high standards has once again been recognised in this way. ”
- Currently Group chief executive.
- Was appointed to the Board in 1999.
- Previously the chief operating officer from 2003 to 2005.
- Previously was managing director of the Group’s insulated panel business and of the environmental business.
- Joined the Group in 1993.