AA's Conor Faughnan: expansion

AA Ireland has hired a significant number of extra staff as the insurance intermediary bucks the recession by continuing to expand.

AA policy director Conor Faughnan said the business was planning to grow its core offering of motor, travel, home and roadside assistance products.

He said road rescue especially was doing well as fewer old cars were being replaced, leading to more breakdowns. It is currently recruiting mechanics for its patrol team to support an expansion of its breakdown service in rural areas.

However, he said that the company was not staffing up to support an expansion into new business lines which had been the subject of industry speculation.

The AA is in the middle of an ongoing recruitment drive which has seen the number of its employees jump from 340 to more than 400 this year. Most of the hiring has been in IT support and sales, the company said.

Faughnan said the company was looking to consolidate space in a new premises "because of organic growth in the business", but that the company has not yet made a decision on where to relocate. It said it had "a couple of options" on the table and is said to be seeking 40,000 square feet of new space to accommodate the increased staff numbers. The company will remain based in the city centre.

This is the second time in just three years AA Ireland has gone looking for new space in the Irish market. The AA moved from its premises in Dublin's Suffolk Street in 2006 after selling the building to developers for more than €8m, far in excess of the €4.5m guide price.

Since then, according to Faughnan, the business has been under space pressure across its three separate city centre offices.

The AA has 170,000 insurance customers and handled 160,000 rescues per year. Acromas Holdings, which owns the AA, recently denied it was planning to float on the stock market.