Cork Company of the Year Awards: A look at those in the Large category

In the third of a four-part series looking at finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2019, Padraig Hoare casts an eye over those in the Large category.

Amarenco primed and ready to meet major solar energy needs

It has been a rapid rise to prominence over the last six years for solar plant operator Amarenco — starting from scratch, it has already established itself as a major international player in the burgeoning market.

Amarenco, a leading global developer, owner and operator of large-scale solar plants, was founded in 2013 and has grown from a zero position to being one of Ireland’s most successful renewable developers on the international stage.

The company has invested over €400m with partners in large solar farms and it is now the number one provider of solar rooftop solutions in France.

The company is heading rapidly to a €100m turnover company, employing 80 people globally and it expects to invest €100m in Irish solar plants over the next three years.

Most of this investment will be in Cork, where the company already has 60MW of shovel ready projects throughout the county.

The firm describes its vision as providing clean energy to its chosen markets through investment in state-of-the-art technologies, as well as providing shareholders with real growth in value, all the while providing sustainable solutions to those chosen markets.

According to the firm, it is the leading solar PV developer in Ireland, France and French Territories, and is number five across all solar PV forms in the Middle East. It is targeting 600MW of developments and will be in top three in Oman and Jordan.

Solar panels that produce electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules — the rooftop solar you see on homes and businesses.

The company has grown from concentrating only on development and finance to one which has built up world standard competence in solar PV solutions.

According to Amarenco, it constructs and manage all built assets. With close to 80 people, it expects that workforce to grow rapidly in the coming years.

About 90% of its staff are graduates and are mainly engineers and accountants. Amarenco expects 100 construction workers on average will work with it when construction begins on all the shovel ready solar farms.

The firm says it is ready to meet the Government’s new found belief in solar PV and that Cork will be a powerhouse for this technology — it says it aims to be first in the Cork market and in the national market.

For executive chairman of Amarenco, John Mullins, being nominated in the ‘large category’ of the Cork Company of the Year Awards is wonderful recognition for both the firm and its team.

He said: “Amarenco is delighted to be chosen by its industry peers in Cork as a finalist in the Large Company of the Year.

It is a wonderful recognition of an excellent young team of people.”

Johnson & Perrott building on stellar history to drive growth

For more than 200 years, Johnson & Perrott has been a driving force in Cork’s motoring industry — and if 2018 is anything to go by, it has no intention of putting any brakes on its growth.

Founded in 1810, Johnson & Perrott Motor Group is a market leader in motor dealerships in Cork city and county, and in fleet management and commercial vehicle hire in Ireland.

In 2018, the group achieved a number of key milestones, including the opening of a new Jaguar Land Rover Dealership in Bishopstown, the acquisition of National Truck Rental Company in Dublin and the creation of a new global partnership with ARVAL, Europe’s largest leasing company.

The group was founded in 1810 to manufacture horse-drawn carriages and traps, making it one of Cork’s oldest companies.

It was acquired by James Johnson in 1860 who set about developing a business through innovation, developing an outstanding reputation — the carriages which survive today are sought-after collector’s items.

With over 150 years of continued family ownership, the current shareholders are now a mixture of fifth and sixth generation descendants of James Johnson, who acquired the company in 1860.

Founded and headquartered in Cork city, the group operates three motor dealership clusters with eight car franchises and three commercial vehicle franchises; is a leading provider of corporate fleet management and has a growing presence in short-term and long-term commercial vehicle hire across the country.

Its franchises include Honda, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Opel, Peugeot, Seat, and Volvo, and three commercial vehicle franchises in Opel, Peugeot, and after-sales Mercedes.

It also offers a comprehensive range of services including new and used vehicle sales, both mechanical and body repairs and a replacement parts service

Since the sale of its key Avis Rent A Car division in 2012, the firm has rebuilt its business model, and as a result, has grown at a rapid pace, resulting in a current headcount standing of 179 employees, up from 98 in 2014.

To be nominated in the ‘large category’ for the Cork Company of the Year is of huge prestige to the firm, according to chief executive Mark Whitaker.

He said:

“We are truly honoured to be considered for Cork Company of the Year for the second time in five years.

Last year was been a year of enormous change in our organisation with the opening of our new dealership site in Bishopstown, the acquisition of National Truck Rental Company in Dublin and the creation of a new global partnership with ARVAL, Europe’s largest leasing company.

“Our nomination is a wonderful endorsement of the contribution made by each of our team of 179 people and the support we get from our customers in Cork City and throughout the country for which we are very grateful.”

Wisetek becomes world-class leader in data sanitisation

It has been a rise to international prominence of epic proportions for data sanitisation firm Wisetek, beginning in Cork and becoming a major international presence in the field.

Wisetek, a global service provider of IT recycling, manufacturing, and data sanitisation services, was founded in 2007 in Cork to support IT manufacturers to meet the increasing demands of global e-waste regulations.

Wisetek is now a global provider of responsible IT recycling, supply chain, and data sanitisation services to the world’s leading multinationals, data centres, and IT end users.

The firm continues to have its headquarters in Cork, at Kilbarry on the northside of the city, and also has a global presence with facilities in the US, UK, Dubai, China, and Thailand.

According to the firm, it is a leader of the circular economy, promoting reuse of IT equipment as a priority for its customers in order to maximise environmental and sustainability outcomes.

Wisetek’s reputation in its field has meant it is now recognised as a truly global provider to customers which include a number of Fortune 500 companies such as Dell EMC, Amazon, Google, Disney, and Johnson and Johnson.

The last 18 months has seen rapid growth and expansion for the firm, with the completion of its first acquisition in the US and the winning of a major global configure to order (CTO) contract for a US data security company.

According to Wisetek, the US acquisition has given it major scale in the US and enables it to get access to key global tenders.

It has continued to expand in the US within the last year, opening new facilities in Sacramento, California, and in Austin, Texas.

As part of its geographical expansion, the firm has opened offices in Dubai, London, and China within the last 18 months.

The firm is fiercely committed to local employment, with the headcount now approaching 200.

The company was set up in 2008 when the recession in Ireland was beginning, and it was of personal satisfaction for founders to be able to provide employment for local people, many of whom are still with the firm today, having progressed to become managers and supervisors.

Due to its growth, the Cork-based roles are increasing in complexity and it now employs a significant amount of staff in areas such as IT, engineering, compliance, marketing, finance, sales, HR, and research and development, as well as core factory operations.

To be nominated in the Large category for the Cork Chamber of the Year Awards is an accolade to be shared for both staff and loyal customers, according to chief executive Sean Sheehan.

He said: “Wisetek is honoured to be a finalist and recognised by our local Chamber.

This is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Wisetek team and reflects the trust and support of our customers.”

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