Business Irish

Monday 11 December 2017

Networks deal takes Actavo into US market

Actavo chief executive Sean Corkery
Actavo chief executive Sean Corkery

Donal O'Donovan and Ailish O'Hora

Irish engineering services group Actavo has expanded into the US for the first time, in a deal that management in Dublin described as "transformative".

Actavo, formerly known as Siteserv, has acquired Atlantic Engineering Services (AES), a business that designs telecoms networks and has operations in Georgia, Texas, Missouri and Colorado. It is the first North American deal for Actavo, which already operates in over 100 locations internationally and has a global workforce of 5,000.

The US deal will add an additional 120 jobs, mainly in high-end engineering roles. Financial details have not been disclosed but the acquisition is debt funded, with financing from a syndicate led by AIB and Bank of Ireland. AEs generated profits of $5m last year.

Actavo chief executive Sean Corkery said the AES deal is his company's biggest to date, and is regarded internally as "transformative", adding: "Actavo's acquisition represents a significant and strategic milestone in our company's growth plan.

"The US is an important, dynamic market for us - we see strong demand in North America for the telecommunications solutions we can now offer.

"This is a logical next step for us at this time and takes Actavo into new areas, both geographically and in terms of our customer proposition.

"I look forward to working closely with our new colleagues in providing end-to-end solutions to the telecommunications sector across the US and internationally," he said.

As well as a beach-head into the US market, AES' network design capability will mean Actavo can also now offer a full service from design to build and installation to telecoms customers in its existing markets - facilitating an end-to-end offering market, the company said.

The deal is targeted in particular at servicing the rapidly expanding Fibre-To-The-Home market in the US, where a massive investment programme is currently under way.

By September 2019 forecasters think that the total number of homes passed with fibre in the US will almost double to 52 million, and the number of homes connected to those networks will also almost double to 24 million.

US telecom providers like AT&T as well as new entrants like Google are competing to meet market demand, and the use of outsourcing of work to companies like Actavo is increasing, Sean Corkery said.

Actavo is headquartered in Dublin and operates across three main divisions: network solutions for the telecoms sector, industrial services for the likes of oil refineries and ship yards and structural and event services - which covers areas like providing temporary structure, scaffolding and specialist equipment hire.

The company has no intention to narrow that range of products and services, Mr Corkery said. The former Siteserv was bought by businessman Denis O'Brien in 2012 in a €45m deal agreed with its former lender, IBRC.

Irish Independent

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