Kainos to take staff numbers past 1,000 this year, says boss
Belfast-based firm enjoys £14m pre-tax profit in 12 months since flotation
Belfast IT giant Kainos says it will grow its workforce to 1,000 staff this year, as the company posted pre-tax profits of £14.3m during the firm's first full year as a listed company.
And Co Antrim boss Brendan Mooney says while he wants the UK to remain as part of the EU, it "will be the electorate which will decide".
Mr Mooney says the latest results are "very positive" and the company intends staying put in Belfast for years to come, with plans to grow the workforce of 480 here further still.
Kainos, which also has offices in Londonderry and Dublin, had revenue of £76.6m for the year to March 2016, up from £60.8m in the previous 12 months. Pre-tax profit rose from £11.8m to £14.3m.
It's the first trading performance since Kainos became one of just three Northern Ireland firms to float on the London Stock Exchange, back in July last year. The firm helps the healthcare industry and the Government digitalise their work, and last year announced it was adding more than 400 jobs to its workforce.
Mr Mooney, who hails from just outside Dunloy, joined Belfast-based Kainos back in 1989, when it employed little more than a dozen members of staff.
"It's a very positive set of results. It sounds dull, but is in line with expectations," he said.
He revealed that revenue and profits were up by more than a quarter." And he added that the firm's "reputation and quality" along with the strength of its workforce was "driving expansion forward".
He said the firm was operating in "high growth markets" which means the "opportunity to grow is significant".
"We deal with 200 customers, some of whom have been with us for many years, and clients who date back to 1998. (We) are continuing to acquire talent in the local marketplace," he said.
Mr Mooney said the latest figures had been buoyed by a strong workload, including $13m (£9m) worth of deals, primarily in the US. Kainos has now grown its workforce to 860, with 480 of those working here. "Recruiting talent to the business is part and parcel, with 50 face-to-faces every week. Last year we hired over 200 new people."
Asked whether Kainos - which is currently based just off University Road - could look at finding new premises in Belfast as it grows, he said: "We quite like being part of the university quarter... there is a vibrancy, lots of sandwich shops and eateries.
"Looking at planning, it does make sense to look at our accommodation, but it makes sense to stay in the Queen's Quarter."
He's firmly set on keeping the business headquartered in Belfast, despite most of Kainos's work being based outside Northern Ireland.
"Belfast is a very natural headquarters for us as a business and will continue to be so going forward," he said.
Speaking about the upcoming EU referendum on June 23, he said: "There are two ways of looking at it. No change, there are lots of opportunities... change means more opportunities. Personally, I like being part of the EU, but it will be the electorate which will decide."
He said there is "no way of knowing" what would happen if the UK votes to leave, and he said there was "huge speculation" on both sides.
Looking forward to the next 12 months, Mr Mooney said: "We have a strong plan and expect to exceed 1,000 staff in the next financial year. In 12 months, I expect to be talking about another strong performance in our business."