Irish project management firm PM Group said UK companies in high tech sectors are slow to invest because of Brexit. The company's comments came as it reported revenue of €290m and operating profit of €9.1m in its annual results to the end of December. According to the firm, operating profit was down by 14% mainly due to the impact of Brexit and currency exchange effects of a strong euro.
The chief executive of PM Group, Dave Murphy, said the UK market is a big market for the employee-owned company. "We're there for over 20 years, but what we've seen over the last couple of years with all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, is that the companies we typically work for in those high tech sectors are slow to invest. We've seen that last year, and we're seeing it again this year, and that has impacted our revenues in that market and also our profitability," Mr Murphy said.
PM Group delivers projects in the high tech sector such as pharmaceuticals, food, medical technology, data centres. These are large, complex building projects such as the new Alexion bio-pharmaceutical facility in Blanchardstown in Dublin - a $500m investment in buildings and related infrastructure.
Glanbia is expanding its milk processing facility in Belview in Kilkenny. "We're managing the design and construction of that project which is estimated at €125m," the PM Group CEO said. The group also announced a new acquisition in Belgium today. It has acquired Magnet Group near Antwerp who operate in the similar sectors to PM Group. "We have been in Belgium for 15 years now so this strengthens our local presence in that market."
Mr Murphy said it is important for the group to diversify given the uncertain climate in the UK. "Europe has been very strong for us over the last 10 years, and we see that only getting stronger."
But he remains positive about the UK market in the medium and long term. "I guess we have to batten down the hatches and manage our way through it. The UK operation is supporting projects here in Ireland, and also projects in mainland Europe and places like Sweden and Switzerland. We think once Brexit passes that those companies will invest again. It's a big market, and in the medium to long term we remain quite positive about it."
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