PM Group to acquire Cork-based automation specialist Milestone Solutions

Milestone Solutions provides IT and automation services to large multinational manufacturing companies

Milestone Solutions managing director Will Wilmott, PM Group chief financial officer Rosita Fennell and PM Group chief executive Dave Murphy

PM Group, the Irish-based international engineering and construction management company, has agreed to buy Cork-anchored Milestone Solutions in a move it said would significantly expand its automation and IT offering to multinational clients.

While no financial details of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, have been revealed, Milestone reported revenue of €18 million last year and forecasts revenue of about €25 million this year.

In a statement, PM Group said the “strategic acquisition” would enhance its ability to deliver automated and smart manufacturing systems to its industrial and biopharma clients, which have included the likes of MSD, Pfizer and Alexion. Both companies already share a number of those clients and have previously partnered on large projects.

“We launched a new strategic plan at the beginning of 2021, a five-year plan for 2025. We specifically identified the whole area of smart manufacturing and industry 4.0 as a growth area that we had some capabilities in but we want to grow that. So that was the kind of starting point,” said Dave Murphy, PM Group chief executive.

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He said while most of PM Group’s growth had been organic, the deal was part of the group’s wider acquisition strategy to grow the business through “very specific” transactions for businesses that could add to its technological, sustainability and international portfolios.

“This is a growth area which is highly complementary to our core expertise and will provide additional value for our clients. We have experience collaborating with the team at Milestone on projects over the years, which gives us great confidence in how our two businesses will fit together strategically, operationally and culturally,” Mr Murphy said.

Milestone managing director Will Wilmot said: “Combining PM Group’s scale and delivery capability with Milestone’s digital systems expertise, will allow us to deliver greater value to our clients both in capital project investments and ongoing facility management. Together, we can offer fully integrated end-to-end project delivery capability for facilities of the future.”

The deal has been submitted to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for approval.

PM Group, which will report its 2022 results in the next month, generated revenues of €475 million in 2021, up 19 per cent. The pharma sector is responsible for about two thirds of the group’s revenues and the sharp uptick in the industry during the Covid-19 pandemic boosted the group’s performance.

Mr Murphy, who is set to retire later this year to be replaced by PM Group’s operations manager for Ireland Anthony O’Rourke, said the group had a “similar” year in 2022 despite the “choppier market” environment.

“One thing that we’re seeing – and it’s no surprise when interest rates are increasing – is decision making by multinational firms or around capital slowing,” he said. “We’ve seen a couple of investments, globally, deferred, cancelled and so on. So we’ve definitely seen a bit of a bit of a slowing, I think.”

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times