Cork engineering firm reports 30pc increase in turnover

26 Oct 2010

A Cork engineering firm fitting out Google’s new campus in Dublin has reported a 30pc increase in turnover from €50m last year to €65m this year based on growth in markets like life sciences, energy, manufacturing, oil, gas and electricity.

Dornan Engineering provides mechanical, electrical and instrumentation services to these markets.

“We were fortunate to have positioned ourselves in markets outside of Ireland in advance of the downturn and are enjoying considerable growth there, with established offices in London, Manchester, Dusseldorf, Antwerp and Stockholm to service those areas,” said Oliver Lonergan, the company’s managing director.

“Turnover has grown from €50m in ’09 to in excess of €65m this year. We remain fully committed to our existing client base in Ireland, however, this is a diminishing market but there is still scope for maintaining a presence with repeat business and through winning smaller contracts.

“While other companies in our sector are in contraction mode, we are in a growth phase and bucking the trend in the terms of contract wins and job creation. The company’s workforce has increased by 30pc year-on-year, with 720 employees (the majority of whom are Irish nationals) now deployed for us throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe.

“Our customers view us as technical partners and this has resulted in the creation of long-term business relationships based on trust and mutual respect. We work hard to make sure that our service is consistent, reliable and fit for purpose,” Lonergan said.

European contracts

The European contracts currently being implemented include an ongoing installation for US multinational Celanese’s Tiger Project in Frankfurt – worth €35m to Dornan.

A further £1bn pound investment by German giant RWE in Pembrokeshire in Wales (working with Alstom Power) has led to a contract worth more than €20m to the company, with 350 professionals deployed there at peak.

This major contract, which commenced in June 2010, is due for completion in July 2011. The company is also involved in a Mechanical HVAC contract for Schering Plough in Belgium.

“We have established a strong work base in the Scandinavian market in particular, with contracts worth €15m completed over the past number of years. These include the Pfizer Strangnas Project, where Dornan was one of the contractors whose involvement helped the project win Global Project of the Year within the Skanska Construction Group,” Lonergan said.

Current contracts in train in Ireland include Phase 1 of a 400,000 sq-foot fit-out project from internet giant Google in its Dublin campus and a major manufacturing expansion project for EMC Corporation in Cork and several other smaller projects.

While Dornan continues as a contractor on the largest gas-fired (2.1GW) power station in the UK, the company has recently completed other UK projects, including a €7m contract on a Data Centre for Nationwide Building Society in Newbury and a €7m installation for GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) in Coleford (Gloucestershire) where Dornan’s was responsible for the mechanical, electrical and commissioning of both projects.

London work for Dornan

Dornan also has more than €12m in ongoing projects in the greater London area. The growth of work in this geographical location has prompted the company to expand from its humble surroundings of an 800 sq-foot office, which opened in August 2009, to a new 5,000 sq-foot office in Central London, which opened at the beginning of October 2010.

Commenting on the future for engineering companies in the Irish market, Lonergan said: “The current climate is undoubtedly a difficult one for companies who have limited themselves to the Irish market, but those that can hold their nerve, work hard and smart, keep their costs down and their standards high, will survive. We aim to be among them.

“To my mind, Europe offers the greatest potential for expansion and we aim to capitalise on our successes to date in that space over the foreseeable future.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years