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IT giant Kainos to hire more than 300 staff and push on with new Belfast head office plans


Brendan Mooney

Brendan Mooney

Brendan Mooney

IT giant Kainos will add more than 300 new jobs to its workforce this year and says plans for a major new head office in Belfast are still on the cards despite most staff home-working.

Brendan Mooney, chief executive, told Business Telegraph that around 17% of staff were in the office at any one time. But he also said he expects that to grow to, but flatten out, at around a third.

The IT services firm added around 700 staff to its workforce in the last year, rising to more than 2,400. Mr Mooney says he expects that to rise to 2,800 by year end.

The company saw sales rising by a third during the first half of this year, reaching £142.3m, while adjusted pre-tax profits followed similar growth – rising to £29.2m for the six months ending September 2021.

The firm has offices across the globe, but still has its main base in south Belfast. Kainos landed several major NHS contracts amid Covid, resulting from the pandemic.

While it saw 107% growth in healthcare deals last year, revenues in that sector are still up almost two thirds amid the latest results.

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Mr Mooney says while the initial surge was largely a “tactical response” to the pandemic, with Covid likely to be part of life for the next few years ahead, he added that he expects healthcare spending to remain strong.

“I expect to see strong spending in healthcare over the next three to four years,” he said.

And on the future of its proposed major office at the site of the former Movie House cinema on the Dublin Road in Belfast, Mr Mooney says it expects to share the building with other firms – taking around 55,000 sq ft of space.

Despite delays to the scheme and the majority of the company still working from home, Mr Mooney said: “We still expect to see ourselves in a shared (office). “Over the next five to 10 years… we see a need for growing in Belfast and need grade A offices.

“Dublin Road is still very much in our plans. We will use the information we are getting… looking at the requirements.”

He said that could see a revised planning application to accommodate changing office needs, post-pandemic. Mr Mooney said he expects the number of workers returning to the office to reach just 30-35% in the coming months and years.

He says the company will have a clearer plan of that office development timeline at the beginning of 2022.

On further company takeovers, Mr Mooney said he’s an “acquisition sceptic”. He said while it has taken on “five great businesses” in recent years, takeovers are not the first priority in thinking about growth and expansion.