Wednesday 21 August 2019

Wexford antenna firm Taoglas snaps up Dublin's Firmwave in all-cash deal

Firmwave CEO Adrian Burns and CFO Ciaran Burns, Taoglas co-chief executives Dermot O’Shea and Ronan Quinlan, and Firmwave director Fintan McGovern
Firmwave CEO Adrian Burns and CFO Ciaran Burns, Taoglas co-chief executives Dermot O’Shea and Ronan Quinlan, and Firmwave director Fintan McGovern

Shawn Pogatchnik

WEXFORD antenna technology firm Taoglas has acquired its frequent Dublin partner Firmwave and says their combined expertise will help develop new tech in the fast-growing field of the internet of things (IoT).

Taoglas co-chief executive Dermot O'Shea told the Irish Independent that the firm purchased Firmwave in an all-cash transaction, but declined to specify the amount.

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He said gaining Firmwave's 30 engineers - mostly software specialists - would allow Taoglas to deliver to clients a more comprehensive range of services and support, as they deploy next-generation technologies in IoT, satellite navigation and 5G networks.

"When you have to work with too many sub-contractors, your project can end up being too costly, too complex and take too long," Mr O'Shea said.

"With Firmwave, we should be able to go in and do everything for clients.

"We can sell more hardware and services," Mr O'Shea said while travelling between the firm's Enniscorthy headquarters and Dublin R&D hub.

Taoglas, founded in 2004, employs 300 in Ireland, China, Germany, Taiwan, and the US cities of San Diego, Minneapolis and Coconut Creek, Florida.

It manufactures millions of antennas annually in Taiwan.

Firmwave, an Enterprise Ireland-backed startup based in the DCU Alpha tech hub, was founded in 2015 and has offices in San Diego and Gdansk, Poland.

Its Edge platform provides IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology for Vodafone, HealthBeacon, Glen Dimplex and others.

"We are excited to integrate our next-generation IoT design expertise and products into Taoglas," said Firmwave chief executive Adrian Burn.

"Their scale and unparalleled sales channels will accelerate the deployment of our hardware and software solutions," Mr Burns added. "Our customers will now benefit from access to the world-class Taoglas engineering team and their RF (radio frequency) solutions portfolio."

Taoglas, which also has operations in DCU Alpha, has collaborated with Firmwave, including for the past two years on developing Taoglas Shift, an AI beam-steering antenna system for 5G networks.

Taoglas acquired ThinkWireless, an American multiple-frequency antenna designer, in January. The most recently filed records show that Taoglas made pre-tax profits in 2017 of €4.33m, up 8.6pc, driven by a 28.8pc higher turnover of €44.6m. Payroll costs rose by 66.6pc to €10.4m.

Irish Independent

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