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Pipelife in Ireland: Quality Powered, Customer Driven

White’s Cross, Cork. When two Irishmen started a plastic pipe company near Cork almost forty years ago, they could have hardly imagined the eventual fruits of their enterprise. Today, Quality Plastics Limited is the leader in the plumbing market in Ireland with impressive export sales.

The two Irishmen were Garry Horgan and Michael Murphy. Their 50/50 partnership was set up to make PE pipes with seven employees in a small factory on the site of an existing plant in White’s Cross, Cork. The business expanded in the 70’s but economic conditions in the 80’s made it difficult to grow further.

Gary Horgan is General Manager and son of one of the original founders. He joined the business in 1987 as a graduate polymer engineer. “It was then a business of 45 people with five extrusion lines,” he explains. “One of the first projects we started was the development of our hot and cold business in the form of PEX pipes.”

“That part of our business has developed very well over the last 20 years since we first went on the market with these products in 1988. Our hot and cold business now includes PEX, PB and PERT pipes (in plain or barrier form) as well as several ranges of fittings that we supply with these pipes as a system. We have also developed a full underfloor heating system complimented with a design service that is regarded as being a leader in the industry.”

The new emphasis on plumbing has clearly paid off. International sales to the UK and mainland Europe in conjunction with other Pipelife companies are significant. “The products we supply are mainly our hot and cold range but we have also expanded our business in PE pipes (for water and gas). Furthermore, we have extended our product portfolio for the home market and for the civil engineering market where we now sell a larger range of PVC pipes and fittings.”

Group synergy

Last year, the firm joined the Pipelife group. “Quality Plastics is proving to be a perfect complement for the Group. We are very proud to be part of the Pipelife team. It is a great company and there is an open atmosphere of cooperation. Business development is flourishing. We have been able to purchase more products from Pipelife companies and also sell more products to Pipelife companies. I firmly believe that this development will increase our opportunities in the future, as we extend our product ranges.”

“Our manufacturing footprint in Ireland is very strong. Being at the forefront of production technology has enabled us to compete successfully in a very competitive market. In the present difficult market environment, further investments will improve the productivity and efficiency of the plants. Moreover, our presence in the UK with a dedicated sales force served by our Distribution Centre in the town of Corby puts the Group at the heart of an effective customer network.”

Ambitious plans

Gary Horgan reports to Guillaume Bucco, the Group COO for Western Europe and the Nordic region. “I consider myself very lucky to have a strong vibrant team of 140 people within Ireland and the UK, who are committed to improving our business everyday.

“We have ambitious plans for the Irish and UK markets. Working with our colleagues in other Pipelife companies we have a potentially major part to play in mainland Europe in the supply of hot and cold water products.”

“Of course, I would like to pay tribute to our great employees and management who continually drive the company forward into the future. Alongside Karen Horgan, our Commercial Director we are confident of moving up the value chain. We spend a lot of time listening to our customers and this communication is essential. For Pipelife and for all our stakeholders, that’s got to be a good thing.”

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