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The company was founded by Michael Francis Kent as an electrical contracting business in Clonmel in County Tipperary in 1919. The business was taken over by his brother in 1948, and then by his son Frank in 1963. The business, which had been renamed MF Kent, expanded rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s as it upgraded the Irish telecommunications network. In 1987, it was acquired by Gus Kearney, its general manager, who expanded operations into Singapore, Spain and Africa.
In 1992, the company made heavy losses on the refurbishment of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and struggled to survive. Two years later, the Malaysian group, Peremba, stepped in and bought a majority stake in the business, providing much-needed capital.