The Suir name has long been synonymous with quality and building long-term relationships with clients. Brian Foley spoke to some of the team to gauge future plans after what has been an eventful year.
When 80% of your business is repeat customers, you must be doing something right. That nugget of information comes from Imtech Suir Engineering Managing Director Mick Kennedy as he explains why the company is feeling optimistic about the future.
“We’ve added another 80 people to the workforce during the summer,” he says, adding that Imtech Suir is gearing up for a period of “managed growth”.
Speaking with senior management at Suir, it’s evident that retaining staff is key to the company’s success. “People stay with us, they serve their time and come up through the system,” says Mick Kennedy. “Part of our strength is that we develop our own people.”
The fact Imtech Suir added 80 new staff to the roster is impressive, considering minds were possibly elsewhere during the summer months.
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David Phelan, Business Development Director with the company, explains what happened.
“Earlier this year, in July, Imtech Suir was hit with an unexpected period of uncertainty. This was caused by their parent company Imtech, based in The Netherlands, going out of business,” he says.
Imtech’s German business was experiencing difficult trading conditions for a number of years and when the banks decided not to support them any longer they ceased trading, which ultimately pushed their parent company into administration.
A period of uncertainty turned into an opportunity, says David. Within days of the news breaking from Europe, Mick Kennedy and Paul Kavanagh, his counterpart in the UK, received the support from the senior management team to carry out a management buyout.
In September of this year and with the financial backing of corporate investors, Endless, Imtech Suir UK management purchased the shareholding from Imtech, moving the company back to private ownership.
“Imtech Suir is now part of a £450m business with offices throughout the UK as well as Waterford and Dublin,” says David.
They have strong cash reserves and are ideally placed to take on the large projects, which are coming to the market in the coming months in Ireland. In addition, this new structure allows Imtech Suir to grow their business in the UK as well as internationally. Throughout the buyout process all of Imtech Suir’s customers stuck with them and in fact supported them along the way. The management team remains intact.
One of the management team is Operations Director Patrick Aylward, who says the power and energy sectors account for approximately 20% of the business.
“Wind farms will be huge over the coming three years,” says Patrick. “Our first project was the Lisheen wind farm on the site of Lisheen Mines in Tipperary, which included a 110kv contestable sub station.”
Patrick explains there has been a move towards private development of sub stations, which are then handed over to the ESB. “We’ll do it faster and the developer retains control of his project,” he explains. “We build to the ESB configuration and they get an asset for the grid.”
He says Imtech Suir has gained “huge” expertise in the sector over the past decade. Another ‘first’ for the company was constructing 13km of overhead power lines at the Bogra Mountains wind farm project in 2008. “We were the first private firm to design and build overhead power lines,” says Patrick.
Clients include large private developers, SSE and the ESB. At present the company has three live projects – two in the Galway ‘wind park’ for SSE worth €13m and one in Cork worth €7m.
Imtech Suir’s experience in the wind farm sector has stayed under the radar, says Patrick, and he goes on to explain that many people don’t realise Imtech Suir is involved in this line of work.
“We’re gearing up for a busy few years, Ireland is set to double the amount of wind farms over the next five years,” he says.
The expertise Patrick speaks about covers all sectors, not simply wind farms.
Mick Kennedy says Imtech Suir’s strength comes from the fact at its core is the ability to deliver – “that thinking runs right through the organisation”.
Sector experience
Since its inception 35 years ago, Imtech Suir has gone from strength to strength. It has a direct work force of almost 700 working across the business. It has extensive experience in delivering highly complex, mission critical projects safely and on budget across the following sectors:
Imtech Suir says it is the number one company delivering electrical services in Ireland, as well as a growing mechanical services sector. Ireland is fortunate to have all of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies based here and Imtech Suir have worked for them all. To date, they have delivered projects for the likes of Pfizer, Amgen, GSK, Genzyme, MSD, EirGen, Allergan, Jazz, Regeneron and Johnson & Johnson.
“Our experience in the general manufacturing and industrial sectors means we are well-equipped to deal with the challenges it brings,” says David Phelan.
Science & Technology
Imtech Suir have considerable experience in designing and building complex projects for specialist, advanced environments such as high-tech research facilities and data centres. They have delivered numerous data centres for confidential clients in Ireland across Europe.
Imtech Suir’s capabilities range from feasibility studies and front-end consultancy through to the design and build, commissioning and optimisation. Their experience includes sustainable technical and control systems for power stations, wind farms and renewable energy facilities. Their in-house engineering team have delivered HV and LV solutions in 110kv and 220kv for many private clients as well as framework packages with ESB.
The company has extensive experience in the commercial sector. They understand the complexity of these environments, whether they are installing technical solutions within a new building or replacing existing mechanical and electrical systems. Working within tighter budgetary constraints, Imtech Suir builds major mechanical and electrical installation projects across essential public sector services, including health, private clients, local governments and works to low carbon specifications.