UK and Europe spur 24% rise in Kingspan Q1 sales
Kingspan Group recorded a 24% jump in Q1 sales to €1.28bn, buoyed by strong sales in light & air sales, insulated boards and panels in the UK, Germany, France and Benelux.
Insulated panels' sales were up 25% (+27% underlying) in the quarter while insulation boards' sales rose 12% (+13% underlying), boosted by the UK - which recorded double-digit growth - mainland Europe, North America and Australia.
The division will be bolstered by the recently announced acquisition of Logstor Group, a global supplier of technical insulation solutions focused on the growing District Heating model, and with revenues of approximately €250m.
The acquisition, conditional on regulatory clearance, is expected to complete in Q3.
Light & Air sales were up 65% (+8% underlying) in the first three months, helped by the acquisition of Colt Group in April 2020. In other areas:
- Data & Flooring sales increased by 11% in the first quarter (+14% underlying). Datacentre projects continue to be very active in Europe and North America more than offsetting predictably subdued office activity.
- Water & Energy saw sales 21% ahead in the first quarter (+17% underlying). Wastewater activity in particular has been strong across most markets.
- Net debt as at 31 March 2021 was €352m after a cumulative acquisition spend of €167m in the period. The Group has, in aggregate, in excess of €2bn cash on hand and committed undrawn facilities.
The Group's trading outlook for the second quarter is positive with ongoing strong momentum across most key markets.
But the firm said raw material inflation, and availability, is increasingly a challenge and it is doing its utmost to limit any impact. We have a strong backlog on hand which augurs well for the period ahead although in the current environment we are cautious about looking too far forward.
The company released its inaugural Planet Passionate Report on April 12, setting out its commitments and global 10-year sustainability plan. It is targeting 60% direct renewable energy use by 2030 and installed 22 solar PV rooftop systems to date.
Andy Murphy, Director at Edison Group, said: "The Company noted that although demand was strong, there was increasing inflationary pressure and availability was becoming a challenge in some cases. The backlog is strong, but the company is being a little cautious on the outlook and gave no guidance for the year."
ReCreate project reuses concrete in new buildings
Reconciling the carbon conundrum in construction will not be a quick fix but researchers at Finland's Tampere University may have hit on a way of deconstructing concrete elements and reusing them in new buildings.
Its four-year ReCreate project, which has received €12.5 million of funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, involves universities and regional company clusters in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany. All the country clusters will carry out their own pilot projects where they deconstruct precast concrete elements intact and reuse them in a new building.
“By reusing concrete elements, we can save an enormous amount of energy and raw materials,” says Satu Huuhka, adjunct professor at the Faculty of Built Environment at Tampere University, who leads the ReCreate project. “We are specifically looking to reuse the concrete elements as a whole, not as a raw material for something new."
Researchers at the Faculty of Built Environment have been carrying out ground-breaking research into the circular economy in the construction sector for a decade.
Long-term research on renovation and the lifecycle engineering of structures provides a solid foundation for the development of quality assurance procedures that will ensure the safety and integrity of the reused elements. This time, the researchers are set to explore not only the technical implementation of the solutions but also the business perspective.
Huuhka acknowledges there are many unanswerered questions, from assessing structural integrity to building code requirements - and ultimately how to turn ReCreate into a viable business. "We must also consider the social aspects: does the process require new skills or new ways of working?” he adds.
Tampere University researchers will also bring to the project their specialist expertise in circular economy business models, building regulations and law, and occupational sociology. The Finnish country cluster comprises Tampere University, Skanska, demolition company Umacon, precast concrete company Consolis Parma, engineering and consultancy company Ramboll, architecture firm Liike Oy Arkkitehtistudio and the City of Tampere. The communications partner is the Croatia Green Building Council.
Buildings generate nearly 40% of GHG emissions and the rising pace of construction - up to 2 trillion square feet could be added by 2060 - means finding a sustainable concrete solution is essential.
Graphene concrete on firm foundations, CarbonCure accelerates growth and Nexii expands in US
Nationwide Engineering is claiming a world first today as it lays the world's first graphene concrete slab engineered for sustainability in a commercial setting. The new material is strengthened by around 30% compared to standard concrete and so significantly cutting material use.
It has partnered with the University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and structural engineers HBPW Consulting; graphene is an allotrope of carbon and the resulting mix with concrete produces a substance that area for area, is stronger than steel, it claims.
CarbonCure manufactures a technology for the concrete industry that introduces recycled CO₂ into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint without compromising performance. It was named one of two winners in the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE and the money will be used to accelerate its mission of reducing 500 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually by 2030. Carbon Cure believes the use of CO2 in concrete is expected to become a US$400 billion market opportunity.
Nexii designs and manufactures high-performance buildings and green building products that are sustainable, cost-efficient and resilient in the face of climate change. It recently teamed up with actor and Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton, who will have an ownership stake and play an active role in Nexii’s upcoming manufacturing plant, which will be its second in the United States and sixth overall.