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Feb 23 (Reuters) - Irish building materials group Kingspan expects to strike a deal to enter the Brazilian market over the next 18 months to extend its recent expansion.
Kingspan, which is a leading producer of insulation products in North America, Britain, Australia and a number of European countries, spent over 100 million euros ($113 million) on acquisitions last year as its full year profits increased by 21 percent to 149 million euros.
It is set to close two bigger deals in Belgium and Canada by April for a combined 400 million euros and Chief Executive Gene Murtagh said not to expect any major deals in the next 12 months ahead of the next wave of expansion.
"We've been actively looking at that market (Brazil) for a number of years and it would have been our expectation to have closed a deal in 2014. If you take a 12 to 18 month horizon, I'd be surprised not to be doing something there," Murtagh told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"Obviously Brazil's volatile economically and you tolerate that, but structurally it's a market that's increasingly retail driven and it's a very large food production country, ideally suited to the use of insulated panels for storage."
Kingspan said it expects its net debt to increase to two times the size of its annual earnings when all of its recent deals close. Murtagh said that level was where the company's "comfort zone ends" and it would look to manage the business at or below that peak going forward.
Kingspan said on Monday that its revenues rose 6 percent to 1.89 billion euros last year as non-residential construction grew strongly in the U.S. and Britain. The picture remained mixed in Europe with Germany and Netherlands rare spots of stability.
Kingspan shares, up almost 20 percent this year, were 2.7 percent higher at 16.90 euros by 0815. Davy Stockbrokers said the results left Kingspan in "excellent shape for 2015 and beyond." ($1 = 0.8818 euros) (Reporting By Padraic Halpin; Editing by Keith Weir)