September 2016: eir

Company of the Month | Tue 18 Oct | Author – Business & Finance eir 100 new jobs rural broadband
Pictured (L-R): Carolan Lennon, open eir; Joe Healy, IFA: and Damien Gallagher, KN Group

With the backing of the IFA, eir are established as a formidable contender in their bid for the National Broadband Plan.

Telecoms giant eir hit the headlines recently after the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) announced its support in eir’s bid for the National Broadband Plan, much to the chagrin of rivals Vodafone. The strategic partnership means the IFA will work with eir to help develop the best broadband solutions for the farming community and encourage its members to take up broadband should eir be successful in their bid.

European Commission figures published earlier this year report that only 8% of rural Ireland has high speed broadband, against a European average of 25%. As the Department of Agriculture’s grant submissions now need to be completed online, the urgency is becoming more acute for the farming community.

The company have already committed to tackling the issue and their rural broadband rollout is well underway, with another 100 jobs devoted to it announced just last month through supplier KN Group. It is bringing along the largest telecommunications infrastructure programme in Ireland, set to cover 1.9 million homes and businesses.

The highlights of fourth quarter and full-year results in June of this year included announcing the first year of annual growth in eight years, revenue of €1.31m (up 4% or €45m year on year), and EBITDA (before storm costs) of €505m, up 5% or €24m year on year in the full-year financial update.

USPs for eir include first to market with superfast broadband, with speeds up to 1,000MB per second; first to launch 4G in Ireland, and being the only provider of a ‘quad play’ of services combining broadband, TV, mobile and landline.

ALL CHANGE

The group is buoyant after last year’s massive €16m rebranding exercise, and acquisition of Setanta Sports TV channel, now known as eir Sport. CEO Richard Moat said that the new name better reflects the company as it is today. “The new eir identity is dynamic and modern. It reflects our real ambition to become just that, a dynamic and progressive Irish organisation providing the high-quality infrastructure and services the country needs and deserves.”

The huge rebranding exercise involved the work of 100 different agencies, new uniforms for 1,500 technicians, rebranding 1,500 vehicles, refitting 63 stores, and communications of the new brand identity with 6,000 TV ad slots, 4,500 radio ads, 2,100 outdoor posters and 80 million online impressions.

Eir Sport have recently secured rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and hope to secure some of the GAA championship matches when they come up for grabs next season. Eir has been a sponsor of the football championship since 2011, a relationship that should stand to them as they bid against TV3 and Sky for key fixtures.

The new eir identity is dynamic and modern. It reflects our real ambition to become just that, a dynamic and progressive Irish organisation providing the high-quality infrastructure and services the country needs and deserves

As a former state-owned monopolist it is a case of ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. In July of this year ComReg, the Commission for Communications Regulation, designated eir as the universal social provider for another five years. This means the company is responsible for providing basic phone and internet access at an affordable price to people living in remote areas.

They are also responsible for maintenance on existing telecoms networks, meaning that service providers Sky, Vodafone, Magnet and BT depend on eir’s network in order to function.

A recent shake-up of the organisational structure aims to keep the company lean and keen: a new consolidated consumer division incorporating the small business division is headed by chief commercial officer Jon Florsheim; Carolan Lennon steps into the new role of managing director of Open eir division, unifying the existing networks and wholesale divisions; and Henry Dummer, formerly marketing director of Tesco, has joined as group marketing director to lead a new centralised marketing function for consumer and business sections.  

About the CEO

Richard Moat, described by The Irish Times as a “no-nonsense Brummie”, has been CEO of eir since September 2014. He was previously CFO. He is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of International Personal Finance plc.

His career arc includes travelling through a range of CEO positions with Orange, and working as company head in Thailand, Denmark and Romania before returning home to take up the post of managing director at T-Mobile in the UK, then becoming CFO at Everything Everywhere, formed from a merger of T-Mobile and Orange Mobile. Moat read law at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.