Irish building supplies company Kingspan posted full-year operating profit up by more than a third, driven by expansion in new markets, and forecast further growth albeit at a more moderate pace in the first half of 2012.

The No.1 producer of insulation in Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australasia reported operating profit of 90.9 million euros (77.14 million pounds) in the 12 months to end-December, up from 67.4 million the previous year.

This was boosted by the acquisition of CRH's European insulation business at the end of 2010.

Market expectations for operating profit ranged between 84.0 million euros and 88.4 million euros with the average at 85.9 million according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 5 analysts.

Revenue rose 30 percent to 1.55 billion euros while debt came in at 170.1 million euros, rising from 120.8 million a year ago after several acquisitions.

Kingspan, which has repositioned itself to take advantage of growing energy efficiency agendas, said it achieved sales growth and stable margins despite weak construction markets that are likely to remain uninspiring in the near term.

Although the international economic outlook remains uncertain, the group continues to expand its global presence in markets, Chief Executive Gene Murtagh said in a statement on Monday.

It would appear from the recent level of bidding activity and our pipeline that the first half of 2012 should deliver continued, albeit moderating, growth and is focused on non-residential markets, the company added.

Construction output in the UK, Kingspan's largest market, fell 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to data from the UK's Office for National Statistics published on Friday.

(Reporting by Lorraine Turner)