Charles Brand gears up for fibre explosion by opening training centre

Gary McDonald Business Editor

UTILITIES specialist Charles Brand is beefing up its telecoms division ahead of the predicted explosion in rolling out infrastructure to meet demand for full fibre broadband.

The company, part of the Lagan Specialist Contracting Group, has appointed Seamus Given from CityFibre as an adviser to the board and to lead on business development, strategy and growth of the telecoms services division.

And it is also establishing a training centre it believes will create employment for a further 1,000 operatives within the wider industry in Northern Ireland.

Mr Given has more than 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications sector, having been director of Ashbourne Communications and Industria Networks.

He was then a founder investor at CityFibre in the UK, where he was responsible for network delivery over the last 10 years rolling out fibre networks to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

He said: “I’m excited to be joining Charles Brand on what are exciting times for the fibre industry here in Northern Ireland. I’m looking forward to helping the business reach its potential.”

The company's managing director Niall McGill said: “Seamus brings a wealth of experience and expertise of the telecoms industry. He is well respected in the telecoms industry, specialising in fibre network delivery, and we’re excited to have him on board.”

Charles Brand is currently successfully delivering full fibre broadband to more than 3,000 homes a month across the north through its partnership with Fibrus and Viberoptix.

These premises are part of a project to roll out networks to 200,000 premises across the region, together with extensive back haul networks and associated works.

And Charles Brand revealed that it is now establishing a training centre to develop operational skills and accreditations in the telecoms industry.

It will ensure delivery of its own projects but also create employment for a further 1000 operatives within the wider industry in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile Charles Brand, which earlier this month secured a contract to deliver a new road scheme highways work to support the delivery of the HS2 project in England, has reported pre-tax profits £3 million in the year to the end of March. It came on a reduced turnover of £44.6m (down from £52.8m in 2019).

But the company reported an increase in cash and net assets, with year-end cash at hand of £12.8m (up from£11.5m) and net assets of £19.2m (up from £16m).

In the strategic report the directors said they were pleased with its strong profitability, adding: “Despite the challenging market conditions, the company has managed to maintain acceptable margins whilst also carefully managing the level of overheads."

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