ESBI targeting Africa and Middle East for major growth

Some commentators had called for company to be sold during crisis

Ollie Brogan, managing director at ESB International: “As a nation, we’re good at understanding other peoples.”

Ollie Brogan, managing director at ESB International: “As a nation, we’re good at understanding other peoples.”

 

As the ESB’s consulting arm, ESB International (ESBI) prepares to celebrate its 40th birthday with an event today at Dublin Castle, Ollie Brogan, its managing director, is bullish about its growth prospects for the coming year.

Just five years ago, as the economic crisis threatened to engulf Ireland and the Government was considering State assets for sale, some commentators called for ESBI to be offloaded to raise funds.

The company escaped the wrath of Colm McCarthy’s Bord Snip Nua, and now looks set to post significant growth on its €800 million or so in coming years on the back of a series of major contract wins.

Its 750 staff numbers is also expected to rise significantly.

Brogan, a member of the Dublin GAA royalty clan and an uncle of senior footballers Bernard and Alan, said the company is currently undertaking a strategic review. It has recently closed its office in Canada, for example.

Although it still has contracts in Europe, ESBI is now pitching for more and more business in developing nations, with Africa and the Middle East high on its agenda.

“We have structured our operations so that we now work extremely closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Enterprise Ireland, ” said Mr Brogan.

“We use their international offices and contacts to find out where the opportunities are, and to help us land them.”

The €17 million Saudi project – a gas and solar scheme being built as part of the late King Abdullah’s “Northern Promise” – will be announced today.

The biggest project it has in the pipeline, however, is a major deal to run the national power company of Botswana, which could be its biggest ever win.

Mr Brogan says the contract currently lies with the cabinet of the African nation, which is known for its diamond production. Sign off is expected shortly, although no final date has been set.

Botswana has been wracked with blackouts and its power company has significant industrial relation problems. ESBI will take up a mandate to run the company from top to bottom.

“There are major opportunities for us in Africa,” said Mr Brogan.

“Governments there have realised that if they want to boost their economies, they must upgrade their power networks. Economic growth and electrification track each other closely.”

ESBI is also looking to increase its contracts in Namibia, as well as Kenya and Tanzania. Meanwhile, the company has opened a permanent office in Ghana.

As part of its targeting of contracts in faraway lands with different cultural and religious strands, the company has also built a prayer room at its Dublin headquarters.

It is open to all faiths, although the footwashing facility and arrow pointing towards Mecca are obviously aimed particularly at Muslims.

“In international business, the Irish have always shown an ability to adapt and integrate with other cultures.

“As a nation, we’re good at understanding other peoples,” said Mr Brogan.

“ESBI is a small company, relative to the other big international power consultancies we are competing with. So we have to find other other ways to make ourselves attractive to international customers.”

As it roams the world, however, ESBI must also find itself a new home.

The company is currently based in the St Stephen’s Green building that once housed Anglo Irish Bank. Its lease is up in a year at which point it will have to move out.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.