Belfast Telegraph

IT giant Kainos delays move to new Belfast offices until late 2021

Purchases: Brendan Mooney
Purchases: Brendan Mooney
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland IT giant Kainos has said it's "pushing out" a move into new offices on the site of the Movie House on Belfast's Dublin Road until late 2021.

The listed company, one of only four plcs in the province, also revealed two major acquisitions as it reported a rise of revenue to £86.9m in its interim report.

Kainos, led by chief executive Brendan Mooney, has bought over Formulate (Adaptive) Ltd and Implexa GmbH in Germany. The two firms employ 21 people in total.

It's believed the businesses were acquired for less than £1m each though exact prices have not been disclosed.

Mr Rooney admitted the purchases were a departure from the company's usual practice of organic growth. But he added: "We know the leaders and like and respect them and their team.

"Our preference is to go with organic growth so there's no change of strategy, but we do recognise there are some times when it's better to acquire businesses."

He added: "These are very talented but small organisations and the purchase prices reflect that."

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Kainos employs around 1,500 people including at its headquarters in Lower Crescent in Belfast. It provides digital transformation services and products to the public and private sector.

Revenue rose by 29% to £86.9m over the six months to the end of September, from £67.2m over the same period a year earlier. Adjusted pre-tax profit was up 27% to £12.8m, also up 29% on the same half a year ago. Pre-tax profit was up 38% to £12m.

Mr Mooney said: "We are announcing another confident set of results and remain on track to deliver our 10th consecutive year of growth, which we measure in terms of our people, customers, revenue and adjusted pre-tax profit. This achievement is more pronounced against an unsettled macro-economic backdrop.

"Our digital services division has maintained its strong momentum, fuelled by demand from existing and new customers, both locally and internationally."

In February, the company sealed a £7m deal to buy the former Movie House Cinema in Belfast for its new flagship headquarters. At the time it said it planned to move in around springtime 2021.

But Mr Mooney told Business Telegraph yesterday that the move had been delayed.

"We're keen to move as quickly as possible but to use the opportunity to create the right office environment for ourselves," he said.

"There are a number of internal discussions to go through and in the next two or three weeks, we have to go about making that a reality and that will likely push out the move to late 2021."

He said the original plan for a 250,000 sq ft building on the site was too large for Kainos so that it was considering "sharing" some of the space.

And he said the lack of an Executive in Northern Ireland and Brexit uncertainty were having little impact. "We tend to spend most of our time nationally and internationally, beyond the fact we are resident in Northern Ireland. With wider Brexit uncertainty, I think there are challenges with a small 'c', and opportunity as well." And he said its existing government clients were "pretty clear" on their spending.

Tom Burnet has been appointed chairman, a successor to Dr John Lillywhite who retired after 21 years.

Belfast Telegraph