De­signer Group buys US en­ergy business

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Fearghal O’connor

ME­CHAN­I­CAL and elec­tri­cal con­tract­ing firm the De­signer Group has bought a US en­ergy-con­sul­tancy business as part of plans for rapid global ex­pan­sion.

The pur­chase of Kansas and Mis­souri-based PPS is part of wider ex­pan­sion plans to more than dou­ble group turnover from €160m this year to €350m by 2020.

“Our plan for PPS is to bolt on a me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal con­tract­ing business fo­cused on biomass power sta­tions,” said group chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Stone.

For­mer MITIE Group boss Padraig Byrne will run De­signer Group’s new US op­er­a­tion and will move there this week. The Blan­chard­stown­based firm paid €5m for PPS, which has a turnover of al­most €12m per an­num.

“We will grow that rapidly be­cause that is just for con­sul­tancy. It is a huge mar­ket with great scale,” said Stone.

Last year, Stone hired for­mer Dublin All-ire­land win­ning foot­ball man­ager — and now the county’s hurling man­ager — Pat Gil­roy as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of its Ir­ish op­er­a­tions. Gil­roy’s ex­pe­ri­ence in the en­ergy sec­tor with for­mer em­ployer Dalkia was a key as­set, said Stone.

De­signer Group is also see­ing growth in the UK, but Stone warned that Brexit un­cer­tainty was dam­ag­ing the Ir­ish mar­ket and that Fdi-linked in­quiries here had fallen.

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