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Mount Charles Group to open Dublin operation

MCG seeks growth in South, has just secured two contracts worth a combined £9.5m

Mount Charles Group founder and chairman Trevor Annon: firm has grown from a small contract catering company into a support services giant with revenues as of September 2016 totalling £31 million

Belfast-headquartered support services company Mount Charles Group (MCG) is to open a dedicated operation in Dublin later this year as it seeks to grow revenues in the Republic.

Established by Trevor Annon in 1988, MCG has grown from a small contract catering company into a support services giant with revenues as of September 2016 totalling £31 million (€35.7 million). It is targeting turnover of £35 million for 2017 with sales gains of about £16 million in the year-to-date.

The company is one of the country’s largest indigenous support service organisations with more than 2,000 staff working in 150 locations across Ireland and Britain.

Last week, the group, whose chairman is a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, took home the “Fast Growth Business” award at the 2017 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards.

While MCG secured its first business in the Republic in 2013 when it signed a three-year contract to supply catering and cleaning facilities to Stream Global Services at sites in Santry and Swords, it has largely failed to capitalise on early successes until now.

No-brainer

Earlier this year it won a major cleaning contract with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government for the Customs House in Dublin. It now intends to build on this.

“The corridor down to Dublin is a no-brainer for us. However, every time we have put it down in our business plan to set up in the Republic something else happens to distract us. There is a definite commitment though that in our next financial year starting October we will be putting a permanent presence into the Republic that will include management and a dedicated sales team,” he said.

Mr Annon said that as with other companies, MCG was keeping an eye on Brexit developments. But he does not expect it to affect growth.

“The view I’m taking on Brexit is quite simple. I figure that if you want to sell me something and I want to buy it then we’ll find a way to make it happen,” he said.

Increasing headcount

Mount Charles has achieved 37 per cent growth in revenues in the last three years, while employees numbers have risen 72 per cent. The company, which recently invested £1.6 million in a new 10,000sq ft headquarters on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, is now aiming to achieve turnover of £50 million by 2020 while increasing headcount to 3,000.

MCG has more than 300 ongoing contracts with clients include University of Ulster, Belfast International Airport, Moy Park, Bombadier and Translink. It also has contracts with Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway visitor centre, as well as Exeter Airport.

This week, the group signed two contracts worth a combined £9.5 million with two colleges in the North: the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (Cafre) and the Northern Regional College.