VEO formally entered the UK market in late 2017 by acquiring I.C. Electrical Ltd. (ICE), a company specialised in industrial electrical installations. The first full year of operation indicates that this was a good move and ICE Managing Director Tim McNeilly expects 2019 to be record breaking – despite Brexit.
I.C. Electrical Ltd. (ICE), based in Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire, offers engineering, design, control panels and installations that complement VEO’s existing product and services portfolio. ICE Managing Director Tim McNeilly is happy with how things have worked out. “We have been working with VEO since 2008. Our shared history, along with very good communication before, during and after the merger, has made this a smooth transition for all of us.”
Integrating a smaller company into a much larger organisation inevitably takes a lot of effort, but McNeilly says the process has been very rewarding. “It has been a great learning experience, which has also paid off with a clear increase in profit already during the first year,” explains McNeilly referring to the eight percent growth in ICE’s gross margin in 2018 compared to 2017.
Rather than simply pursuing new customers, ICE has increased its focus on existing customers. “By implementing the best ingredients of VEO’s business models, we are more customer-focused than ever, which is something customers have acknowledged and appreciated. We can now offer them added professionalism and a larger range of products and services. Some of our customers are truly amazed over the vast scope of products and services we can now offer them.”
McNeilly points out that ICE has by no means had to give up its own identity. Things that work well continue as before; VEO has focused on the essentials instead of changing things just for the sake of change. This has been greatly appreciated by the ICE staff. To help ease the transition, Jarkko Aro transferred from the headquarters in Vaasa to become the Operations and Sales Director at ICE. “Jarkko has been invaluable when it comes to pinpointing the VEO processes and systems we need to implement.”
During 2018, ICE was able to secure and successfully deliver several large projects within both the Waste-to-Energy sector and the hydropower industry. A number of these projects are targeted for long-term relationships with customers. Another milestone was the opening of an office in Ayr Scotland to support projects north of the border.
2019 looks bright despite Brexit
The whole world is holding its breath when it comes to Brexit, but McNeilly takes a rational approach. He feels that VEO is in a strong position to cope with the situation. “It’s very smart of VEO to be present in the UK already; with a foot in both markets, VEO will safeguard its position no matter what happens. The UK has signed major climate deals, so the country’s bound to keep investing in renewables and waste-to-energy projects. And there, ICE and VEO have a winning formula.”
To meet ambitious climate targets, many anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, biomass plants and biogas plants (all of which produce energy from renewable fuels) are being developed around the UK. ICE delivers electrical installation and control systems to a number of these projects. Since the projects vary in size, complexity and requirements, ICE has successfully built up a good knowledge base of the requirements needed for the plants to fulfil their specific needs.
With ongoing projects along with those in the pipeline, McNeilly is expecting 2019 to be a record-breaking year. In April 2019, ICE will open a manufacturing facility to further increase the company’s flexibility and opportunities to serve customers even better. “We will call it TEHDAS, the Finnish word for factory. We are proud to be part of a Finnish company and want to be part of building VEO’s brand internationally”.
A factory is not all that is needed, however. “We are currently on the lookout for more staff. We have fantastic opportunities ahead of us and to grasp them we need to grow our great team of experts”, concludes McNeilly.
We have been working with VEO since 2008. Our shared history, along with very good communication before, during and after the merger, has made this a smooth transition for all of us.