CDE Global to add 150 staff as global sales push towards £100m

CDE Global managing director Brendan McGurgan (centre) with CIMA business development manager Kevin Gormley and CIMA's Northern Area chair Sinead Dillon. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

COOKSTOWN-based engineering firm CDE Global is on course to achieve a £100 million turnover by the end of this year and increase its headcount by as many as 150 by 2020.

And having grown to become the largest wet-processing equipment manufacturer in the world, CDE also insists it has fully future-proofed the business in an uncertain global climate and with Brexit looming.

Managing director Brendan McGurgan gave the upbeat assessment as he addressed business leaders at a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) breakfast in Belfast.

CDE Global, which makes heavy industrial screening machinery, has gone from a start-up in 1992 to company employing more than 500 people in eight regions across the world, and it sells into 70 different countries.

Its global growth continued in 2018 with the opening of a new north American headquarters in Cleburne, Texas, and the acquisition of Caterpillar NI’s former manufacturing facility in Monkstown.

In the 2016 calendar year the company reported sales of £53 million. But that is set to soar when 2017 accounts are formally filed at Companies House in the coming weeks, and by the end of this year CDE will then break the milestone £100m barrier.

Mr McGurgan said the group is implementing its '2020 Vision' with the aim of generating an increase in turnover of 150 per cent and strengthen head count by creating 110-150 new positions globally.

He described to CIMA delegates how the recession led the company to rethink its strategy and to increase investment in R&D and outlined how CDE Global is working with its business partners to enable the company meet the challenges of Brexit.

Key measures include investigating the tariff rates that would apply in each of the group’s export markets, looking at alternative shipping/transport routes to avoid going through England and an in-depth review of the supply chain to understand the exposure of the business and to determine the risks from their suppliers to the business.

The company is also on course to ensure that in March 2019, when the UK leaves the EU, there is sufficient buffer stock to accommodate any delays in bringing materials/parts into the UK.

He said the firm continues to promote the advantage of the weak pound to customers in export countries and has asked all employees who are eligible to obtain an Irish passport to do so.

Ciaran Phelan, head of CIMA Ireland, described CDE as a role model for strategic planning and analysis for future proofing businesses and ensuring sustainable success.

“CDE has underpinned its future through forward-looking strategic analyses to identify the opportunities and indeed the risks to become a globally sustainable business.

“Against the backdrop of Brexit and a business environment where technological advances are developing at an exponential rate, understanding how best to equip your business to adapt to new and unknown futures is key."

He added: “CIMA, in its 'Future of Finance' report, forecasts that this requires agile management, highly articulate in advising business through stakeholder interaction and applying expertise to help with impactful decision-making.

“Change is the new norm in many organisations and as such this requires constantly evolving, business focussed skills which are at the core of the CIMA qualification.”

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