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Expanding Onyx Group opens new centre in Edinburgh.

Byline: Andrew Mernin

FAST growing technology firm Onyx has stepped up its presence north of the border with the opening of a new office which can house 250 workers.

The company, which has operations in Middlesbrough, Gateshead and Newcastle, has opened a three-storey data recovery centre in the heart of Edinburgh's telecoms district.

The centre will be similar to its facility on the Team Valley in that it will act as a workspace for firms who need to relocate due to a disaster. The Gateshead site is believed to be the biggest of its kind in the North East.

It will also become the new base for staff at its current offices in Dalkeith and Falkirk and builds on Onyx's presence

It will also become the new base in Scotland following its acquisitions of Falkirk and Glasgow-based Campbell Lee and Edinburgh's Dundas IT last year.

Almost half of its 100-strong team are now based in Scotland, including its directors of infrastructure and of services.

CEO Neil Stephenson said: "There is increasing regulatory pressure on all businesses to have continuity plans in place in order to minimise disruption should the worst happen, and, while more serious threats to a business such as terrorism are rare, power outages, fires or even denial of access to office facilities can cause irreparable damage.

"In the event of a disaster, businesses in Edinburgh and its surrounding areas will have immediate access to top-of-the-range facilities, so that their customers need not even notice a disruption." Keith Watters, associate partner at Graham + Sibbald, who acted on behalf of Onyx, said: "We are very pleased to have secured Sirius for Onyx. The property was the perfect fit for their needs and we were able to negotiate a very competitive incentive package." Onyx became an independent North East company almost a decade ago when its American parent company crashed as the dotcom bubble burst.

Three directors, including Mr Stephenson, carried out a management buy-out and set about turning the Middlesbrough outfit into a mass employer.

Recent years have seen the company enjoy a sharp growth spurt marked by a number of acquisitions including that of Tyneside's Jade Integration and part of Newcastle Computer Services which fell into administration last year.

The Onyx Group has seen its annual turnover quadruple to more than pounds 12m in the past two years and it hopes to double turnover again in the next couple of years or so. Plans to float the company on the Alternative Investment Market to raise further cash for expansion have been put on hold since the start of the economic downturn, although managers say they have not been put off indefinitely.

So far the company has been able to expand strongly with money from its own profits and with help from investors such as Evolve Finance.

As well as expanding into Scotland and across the UK, the company has also opened an office in Dubai..Businesses in Edinburgh will have immediate access to top-of-the-range facilities


INCREASING TURNOVER Neil Stephenson, md of the Onyx Group.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 23, 2009
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