Project management firm PM Group has announced the acquisition of Cheshire-based ProJen. The company specialises in engineering and project management for a number of areas including petrochemical and advanced manufacturing and will add 100 people to PM Group's global workforce.

Dave Murphy, chief executive of PM Group, said the deal for ProJen is important as it gives the company a bigger regional footprint in the UK. PM's existing operations are in Birmingham and Southampton and today's deal gives it a strong presence in the northwest of the UK - Manchester, Liverpool as well as Scotland, Mr Murphy said.

Most Irish businesses are currently looking to diversify away from Britain due to Brexit, but Mr Murphy said that PM Group has been in the UK for a long time - arriving there in the 1990s - and it remains confident on the UK market for the long term. While there has been a fall off in the level of investment in the short term, Mr Murphy said that the UK is a big market and there will be plenty of activity in the long term.

While unable to disclose how much the company paid for ProJen, Mr Murphy said it was a "fair price" and the company was able to fund it entirely from its own resources. ProJen turns over about £10m a year and Mr Murphy said he hopes the company will add about £0.5m to PM Group's bottom line in the near term. 

On the UK economy, Mr Murphy said he was seeing a lack of confidence in business. As most of the company's business is with private sector multi-nationals and because of the uncertainty around Brexit, Mr Murphy said that investment decisions have been deferred as companies wait to see what is going to happen. But that can only continue for so long and Mr Murphy said that companies will eventually have to invest to boost capacity to expand or diversify into other product areas. 

MORNING BRIEFS -  The number of jobs posted in sectors dominated by multinationals was steady in the last three months of 2017, according to the latest CPL Employment Market Monitor. In the survey, CPL also found that more than half of all employees felt they were unable to save on their current salaries as the cost of living out-stripped their income. Almost 70% of people surveyed also said they had no pensions plan.

*** Facebook is to change the way its news feed displays content and said it will favour personal interactions over content from businesses and brands. The social media site has faced criticism recently for facilitating abusive content and the spread of false information. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he felt a responsibility to make sure the service was not just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. He said the change would likely result in people spending less time on Facebook, but it would be good for the business in the long-term.

*** Swiss-Irish bakery company Aryzta has named new senior appointments as it tries to turn around its struggling business in the US. Dave Johnson, who previously worked at Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut and Kraft, will become Aryzta's North America CEO later this month. Meanwhile the current chief development officer at the Daa, John Heffernan, will become Aryzta's chief strategy officer from the end of February.