Kainos chief vows major expansion as profits soar
Belfast IT firm to increase staff levels on back of record revenue
The man in charge of Belfast IT company Kainos has pledged to grow the firm 35% this year, as the company revealed record revenue and profits.
Revenues for the year to March grew by 46% to £43m, up from £29.7m in 2012-13 in the fourth consecutive year of growth.
Pre-tax profits increased by 131% to £8m from £3.5m, the highest ever recorded in the company's history.
Sales for 2013-14 amounted to £69.3m, up from £38.6m, a total that included the company's biggest ever order (£12.3m) for the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Managing director Brendan Mooney has said that the company expected to grow by 35% in 2014 and staff levels are expected to rise from 607 to just over 700.
He said that the company could be on the lookout for new office space in Belfast.
The Kainos office in Upper Crescent has capacity for about 400 and currently holds around 340.
And despite rumours, Mr Mooney said that there were no current plans to list the company on the stock exchange.
Kainos offers information technology expertise to global clients in government, financial services and healthcare, provides software design, support and implementation services, and project management.
The Queen's University spin-out also has offices in Londonderry, Dublin, London, Bristol and Gdansk in Poland.
The firm, which won eight out of 10 contracts it bid for last year, is working with five central government departments.
Mr Mooney said that growth was being driven by big projects, mainly in hospitals.
He said that looking forward, more talented young people were needed to fill important IT roles.
"We've been in Belfast for 27 years and our client base has always been outside of Northern Ireland," he said.
"When I graduated 25 years ago today, there were 28 people in my class at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown and 22 of the class had to go to places like Australia, Germany and England to work.
"I think it is great that there is so much talent coming from Northern Ireland and that there are now the jobs here for those talented people.
"However, as a major employer in the sector, scarcity of good staff is a concern and it is now the case that we are finding it harder to recruit here, which is one of the reasons why we opened in Poland.
"Industry, academic institutions and government need to work closely together to encourage more people into the sector.
"We expect to grow by 35% over 2014 and looking at our first quarter results, we are bang on track for that, and we hope to increase the workforce to 700.
"We are almost at capacity in our Belfast property so we are looking at a number of other available buildings in the same area."
Michael Noble, chief executive of IT trade body Momentum, said that Kainos's latest set of results were a further sign that the Northern Ireland digital sector was on course to create 20,000 jobs in the coming decade as outlined in its Digital Action Plan.
Kainos, named after the ancient Greek term for 'fresh' or 'new' was founded as a joint venture by Fujitsu and Queen's University in April 1986 and was one of Northern Ireland's first university spin-outs.
To date five new companies have been spun out either by Kainos or former Kainos employees.