“The Irish market defies expectations”

Jim O’Connell, sales manager at Emmegi (UK)

While confidence in the UK window and door sector has been hit by the impact of high inflation and rising interest rates over recent months, the Irish market continues to defy expectations. It has a government committed to house building and an economy enjoying an ongoing Brexit dividend.

That’s turning out to be very good news for Emmegi (UK). We are seeing demand for our range of aluminium and now PVC-U machinery in Ireland almost at record levels.

Emmegi (UK) has had a direct presence in Ireland since 2015, when I was first recruited to head up sales. Prior to that, the UK sales team serviced the Irish market but Ian Latimer, Emmegi (UK)’s managing director, recognised that this was a market with huge potential that needed its own locally based team.

At that point, Ireland was still recovering from the highly damaging 2008 economic crash. However, the country’s favourable corporation tax policy was attracting huge amounts of inward investment and lots of US multinationals were setting up, driving demand for commercial and office space as well as homes.

With this in mind, Emmegi (UK) initially focused on the established facade companies that were building new commercial office space. We enjoyed a lot of success. At the same time, the Irish window and door market was starting to shift more towards aluminium products, so our timing was just about perfect.

Interest rates are rising here, just as they are in the UK, which is having some impact on the housing market. We both face similar skills shortages and recruitment issues.

However, the government’s commitment to increasing housing stock, backed by incredibly strong corporation tax revenues, means there is still an underlying confidence that the future looks bright.

Due to its unique position having a land border with an EU nation and being part of the UK, companies based in Northern Ireland can easily sell into both markets. We have seen our customers, like McMullen Facades and Clarke Facades, diving into the export market with huge success.

The underlying strength in the Irish housing market also gives us plenty of scope to market the Someco brand of PVC-U products, which now comes under the same umbrella brand as Emmegi (UK). We have already sold our first Someco SVL4H/2A welding and cleaning line and this is being delivered soon, along with some 5-head inline welders. I feel strongly that Someco could be a game changer for us.

The past 8 years have been hugely successful for us here. Going forward, customers can expect more of the same.

Jim O’Connell

Sales manager at Emmegi (UK)