Strategy pays off for Horizon with 50pc growth

15 Mar 2007

Irish IT services player Horizon Technology Group said revenues have surged by 46.9pc to €257.8m and profits increased 50.3pc to €43m for 2006. The company’s chief executive Gary Coburn told the strong performance was the fruit of a number of years of strategic planning.

Five years ago Horizon’s business was fundamentally based on a partnership with Sun Microsystems. However, since then the company has boosted its partnerships to include players like IBM, Oracle, EMC, Symantec, Juniper, Nortel and Pillar Data Systems and it is focused on exploiting market opportunities in Ireland and the UK.

In Ireland, the group reported revenues of €59.9m, a 14.1pc increase on 2005, while in the UK reviews jumped 60.6pc year-on-year to reach €198.3m.

Last year Horizon sold off its Clarity channel business to Westcoast for €5.2m and acquired e-learning company WBT Systems for €1.15m.

Coburn says that since acquiring WBT the company has exceeded expectations with a strong pipeline of technical services and licence revenue on the cards.

“We’ve had a good year with lots of things happening, both with acquisitions and strong organic growth in our existing businesses,” Coburn said.

“These are the fruits of a number of years of hard work and strategy around increasing market share, forming new partnerships and through acquisition. All three have come to a successful head.”

Coburn said growth in the company’s target markets is being driven by a large amount of outsourcing activity amongst enterprises. “Businesses are demanding more flexibility from their workforces,” said Coburn.

With three quarters of the company’s revenues coming from the UK, Coburn said that the UK market is a ripe opportunity. “We are now one of the major channel players in the UK channel space. We are not dependant on market growth in the UK because there’s so much market to take.”

While Coburn could not commit to actual numbers, he said that Horizon is currently in recruitment mode with the company’s headcount currently standing at 320 people.

On the subject of skills shortages reported by other Irish technology firms, Coburn said: “We are finding the skills we want through immigrants coming to Ireland. They are a super source of additional labour. I would say that 20pc of Horizon’s technical staff would be foreign nationals. They have enabled and fuelled our growth and are a vital resource.”

By John Kennedy