Finesse Medical - a Longford success story

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Finesse

Peter Burke, TD, Martin Dowd, Kirsten Newquist, Michael Johansen, Martin Shanahan CEO of IDA, Council CE Paddy Mahon, Cathaoirleach, Cllr Martin Mulleady and Ken Whitelaw. Photo: Michelle Ghee.

Great things in business are never done by one person.

It was a mantra the late US entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs swore by.
The slogan is one which can also be used to sum upo the meteoric advance of one of Longford's fastest growing success stories-Finesse Medical.

Set up in 2006 by former St Mel's College student Daire Lynch, Finesse started off along the Athlone Road's Royal Canal Business Park with just a handful of employees and a 10,000 sq ft base in which to operate in.

It's simplicity in its early days and the fact it had a relatively narrow, but at the same time loyal customer base meant it was able to withstand the harsh economic chills brought about by the onset of recession and the much talked about Irish banking collapse of 2008.

It's durability soon coincided with the arrival of two fellow directors Martin Dowd and Kevin Creighton and quickly established a foothold in the medical devices industry.

The company's continued growth meant it soon outgrew its operating base and with the help of Longford Co Council and Enterprise Ireland it relocated to a new, state of the art 40,000 sq ft premises in the IDA Business Park. By now, its staff roster levels were verging on three figures.

Accounting figures for Finesse showed it had accumulated profits of €2.6 million at the end of 2015 with employee numbers rising from 15 to 79.

The company’s total payroll costs increased by 50 per cent during the year to about €3.1 million while directors’ remuneration rose to just under €900,000 from €342,226 in 2014.

Those eye-popping figures were enough to attract the attention of US multinational Avery Dennison.
Suddenly Finesse was not just a national leader in its field but was fast becoming a global champion its chosen field.

The impressive figures linked to its new parent group, Avery bore testament to this.
Based in California, Avery Dennison reported sales of $6.1 billion in 2016.

It's operations in more than 50 countries and employee numbers of about 25,000 would have turned the head of even the most self-effacing of homegrown medical device industrialists.

By the mid point of last year, Finesse's immersion under the Avery umbrella was complete with hopes the deal could open up potentially lucrative new markets and distribution channels for its products.

The fruits of those aspirations were illustrated last week with the announcement Avery was willing to invest $10m in the development and construction of a new 6,000 sq metre expansion.

Michael Johansen, vice-president and general manager of Avery Dennison’s industrial and healthcare materials group, was not shy in spelling out the rationale behind such a large scale investment plan.

“The expansion project is important for Avery Dennison and our industrial and healthcare business for many reasons,” he said.

“We operate in a highly competitive, global business environment. Building on the manufacturing strengths than Finesse Medical has developed here in Longford will allow us to optimise our investment in our manufacturing capabilities.

“We also operate in a rapidly changing world where innovation is essential to compete and effectively succeed.”

Perhaps the most striking insight as to the chief catalyst behind Finesse's uniqueness as a brand and its climb to the top of the medical devices ladder came from one of its co-founders, Martin Dowd.

“We believe in providing high quality products at competitive pricing is key to good business and driving a business.

“Making it easier for our customers to do business with us has also been a fundamental for us.

“If they have a good, feeling and experience you can continue to grow that business.”

And it's precisely that ethos alongside the diligence of its 125 strong workforce which is why Finesse can now look forward towards building a new chapter in its relatively embryonic but altogether blossoming history.

ALSO READ:

EXCLUSIVE: Longford firm Finesse Medical to make 'significant' jobs announcement tomorrow