Grenfell Tower fire: Cladding supplier distances itself from disaster as profits rise

The firm that supplied the cladding used on Grenfell Tower has reported higher than expected profits as it moves to absolve itself of blame for the devastating fire.

Arconic made profits of $212m (£162m) in the three months to the end of June – the period including the 14 June inferno that killed at least 80 people – an increase of 57 per cent from the same quarter of the previous year. 

It has announced it will no longer sell its Reynobond PE panels for high-rise blocks because it has no control over their installation.

It also raised its forecast for annual revenue to $12.7bn (£9.7) from $12.3bn (£9.4), thanks to better than expected sales.

“The business increased revenue and profitability, continued to expand margins and take out cost,” said David Hess, Arconic’s interim chief executive. “We ended the first half of 2017 with significantly less debt, a strong cash position and good liquidity.”

The company now faces several class-action lawsuits that accuse it of making false and misleading statements related to its sales of the panels from plaintiffs who are complaining about the 7 per cent fall in the value of its shares in the wake of the catastrophe.

Since the fire – the deadliest in the UK for more than a century – tests have shown that at least 149 high-rise buildings in 45 different local authorities in the UK have failed cladding safety tests.

The Reynobond PE panels used in the cladding of Grenfell were the cheapest of three options including panels with a fire resistant core, suitable for buildings up to 30 metres, and panels with a non-combustible core, for buildings above that height, outlined in Arconic’s own leaflet.

Its website continues to promote the cladding as part of “beautiful, secure and sustainable buildings” used by millions of people around the world.

Grenfell Tower was more than 60 metres tall.

Arconic, known as Alcoa Inc…

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