No gaps in trade at MJ Flood
WFH has been a boon for the channel but there's plenty of room for consolidation, as MD James Finglas tells Billy MacInnes
14 January 2021 | 0
“We approached 2020 with a degree of trepidation like everyone else, but we came out strong. Was there a Covid impact? A lot of people had to pivot their business to remote working, security and solutions that helped them to operate in the new normal, so the underlying trend was strong. EDITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation] improved across the board.”
So says James Finglas, managing director of MJ Flood Technology. He identifies cloud as a very strong performer (up 78% in 2020 for the company) and highlights Microsoft Teams (specifically voice) as an area of very strong growth. “We won some major projects there in 2020,” he reveals.
What about 2021? He has no qualms in forecasting that this year “will be buoyant. I don’t see a decline either via Covid-19 or Brexit.”
Ah yes, Brexit. While recognising that the deal might not be what most people envisaged it would be, Finglas states: “It’s done now, we can get on.”
Has he noticed any fall-out from Brexit yet? “We haven’t seen a huge impact from Brexit,” he replies. “We’re an Irish indigenous company and most of our business is here on the island. Supply is fine. There have been only minimal delays.” Suppliers have already taken steps to prevent it becoming an issue, arranging for products to be delivered from countries like France instead of the UK.
In any case, with so many projects planned well in advance, “there isn’t a knock on to the supply chain that’s adversely affecting business as usual”.
MJ Flood Technology did have quite a lot of business in the UK a few years ago, predominantly through a deal with O2 to provide Office 365 support and activation services in the UK, but it took the decision to retrench back into Ireland and left three years ago.
Finglas notes that whatever might happen in terms of Ireland to UK trade, there are opportunities coming into Ireland from the UK from data centre operations relocating to this side of the Irish Sea. “It’s almost an insurance policy for them to have a footprint here,” he says, to maintain an EU presence.
Away from Brexit, he expects cloud growth to continue to be strong in 2021, if not quite reaching the heights of 78%. Security will also perform well, as will managed services because “companies are looking to outsource more”.
He expects there to further consolidation in the market, following the takeovers of Evros, Novosco and Arkphire. “The market is still fragmented and there are probably too many small players within it, so it probably needs further consolidation,” he remarks.
MJ Flood Technology will continue to steer its path as a “steady profitable organisation that has been around a very, very long time. We will see growth but we don’t have plans for major acquisitions and we don’t have plans to sell either. We are very solid and very well-recognised. We trade very well.”
Looking further forward, he predicts that while working from home will become an important part of how we work in the future, there will need to be a balance with working in the office as well.
“There’s nothing like collaboration in person in teams,” he argues. “People have demonstrated to employers that [working from home] can work but I don’t see it as a replacement for collaborating as a team in a centralised environment.”