Tuesday 22 January 2019

Kingspan founder Murtagh sells €40m of shares

Kingspan CEO Gene Murtagh, left, with his father and company chairman Eugene Murtagh
Kingspan CEO Gene Murtagh, left, with his father and company chairman Eugene Murtagh
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Kingspan chairman Eugene Murtagh has sold €40m of shares in the insulation maker.

Mr Murtagh, who built the business into a world leader, is still the biggest shareholder in the company with a stake of more than 15.5pc.

According to a stock market filing, he sold one million Kingspan shares at €40 each on Tuesday.

A spokesperson declined to comment on the reason for the transaction.

In March 2017, he sold the same number of shares at €30 each.

He is the father of the current CEO Gene Murtagh, who netted around €3.4m from selling shares in the business last week.

Kingspan shares were up more than 3pc in Dublin just after 1pm yesterday, with the transaction having been announced at 12.23pm.

The share price rise valued the elder Murtagh's remaining stake in the business at more than €1.1bn.

Gene Murtagh said at the company's April agm that the company had experienced a sluggish start to its current financial year, with sales up 1pc before factoring in currency and acquisitions in the three months to the end of March.

He said the company had been hit by a prolonged winter.

"Notwithstanding the present trading environment, the group remains well positioned for the year as a whole and for the longer term given the breadth of our product mix, our extended geography and the ongoing advancement of our high-performance technology," he said.

"The order backlog across the group points towards a good second quarter."

Kingspan has been pursuing an internationalisation strategy in recent times.

That will lessen its exposure to the UK in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The company has recently launched an assault on the massive Indian market with a new joint venture aiming to take advantage of the shift to modern construction methods in the country.

It is understood Kingspan has a controlling interest in the joint venture (JV), alongside partner Jindal Mectec.

"Investing in India is a key element of Kingspan's geographic growth strategy.

"The JV will also cover Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and Bhutan," said Gilbert McCarthy, managing director of Kingspan's insulated panels division.

In 2017, it expanded its manufacturing footprint with partnerships in Brazil and Colombia, describing Latin America as a "new frontier for Kingspan".

It also recently announced deals to expand in central and southern Europe.

The Indian joint venture will be known as Kingspan Jindal.

Jindal Mectec said the growth in modern construction in India was being fuelled by "strong domestic and foreign direct investment momentum in infrastructure".

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