Mivan navigates Brexit with new cruise ship contracts and higher profits

Antrim-based specialist fit-out company grew its pre-tax profits to £3.2 million on turnover of £29 million last year, having being placed into administration in 2014

The specialist fit out company Mivan grew its pre-tax profits to £3.2 million (€3.6 million) on turnover of £29 million last year, just five years after it went into administration and was acquired by the Newry-headquartered MJM Group, latest accounts show.

Mivan, which had been in business for nearly 40 years before it went into administration in 2014, had previously been one of Northern Ireland’s biggest construction and fit-out companies with a workforce of nearly 300 people.

The collapse of the company, which had worked on high-profile contracts from Disneyland Paris to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, was seen as a major blow for the North's construction sector.

Five years on, MJM has helped steer the Antrim business back to profitability and this year it has won a series of major cruise ship contracts with leading industry players including Princess Cruises, Marella Cruises and The World: Luxury Residences at Sea.


It is also working on the design and delivery of a superyacht for a new client whose identity has not been disclosed.

New contracts

John Cunningham, managing director of Mivan, said it has worked hard to "quietly refocus on our brand" and "reposition Mivan as a global leader in the interior fitout market".

He said Mivan had increased its turnover as a result of winning significant fitout contracts for high-end residential, luxury hotel and commercial sectors and growing its cruiseline and yacht building business.

“We created more than 40 new jobs in 2018 to bring our workforce to more than 200 people. We are on course to hit, in the region of £40 million turnover, in 2019 with ambitious growth plans for 2020 and beyond,” he said.

But he added that, like many other Northern Ireland businesses, Mivan was aware it could also be sailing into unchartered territory because of Brexit, although he believes it is "as prepared as we can be, given the lack of certainty over the course of action".

“We have a clear strategic plan to expand our fitout business outside of central London, with other tactical investment locations on our radar. We also are expanding our reach in the marine industry with some very exciting projects in the pipeline.”

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business