WTech Fire, part of Mullingar-based fire safety engineering group Writech, has announced three acquisitions, including Dublin-based Ideal Fire, for a total sum understood to be in the tens of millions.
Headed by chief executive Ted Wright, Writech, which designs, manufactures, installs and maintains water-based fire protection and detection systems, has been on the acquisition trail since 2021, when Dutch private equity firm Waterland secured a controlling stake in the business, fuelling a flurry of deals.
Along with Ideal Fire, Writech said it has acquired Wicklow-based Wilec Fire and Security, and UK fire, industrial and electrical pump specialist Jem Pumps since the start of the year.
The group, which has now bought five companies since partnering with Waterland and employs 580 people, said the deals mark a “significant milestone”, adding fresh growth opportunities and driving group revenues to more than €124 million this year. The expansion follows the acquisitions of Ce Sprinkler, a Swedish fire protection business, and Compco Fire Systems, a UK provider of automatic fire suppression systems in recent years.
Mr. Wright, who is nominated in the international category of this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards, told The Irish Times that more deals are in the offing.
“A lot of [consolidation] has happened already,” he said, but opportunities remain in some markets such as Ireland and the UK. “You have a lot of family-owned and founder-driven companies and it is fragmented in certain countries.”
Writech, which provides fire safety systems for a number of blue-chip companies in an array of industries including retail, life sciences and data centres, has traded strongly this year, Mr. Wright said.
“We’re doing quite well,” he said, despite the challenging economic environment. “Our industry is a recession-proof industry. It’s a vital industry, so it has very high maintenance and service requirements as well as project work. If retail is not spending, industry is spending. So it’s very resilient. We’re doing a lot of residential work, which we didn’t do before, and we do a lot of work with data centres.”
Mr. Wright said Writech was lucky to partner with Waterland when it did, given the shift in funding conditions over the past year. “It’s a very difficult industry,” he said. “It puts years on the clock and Waterland have learned very quickly. They’ve grown to understand the industry very quickly and they know what we’re looking for. So we’ve been very lucky to work with them.”