EXi began life in 1995 in a small office in Manchester with a single contract from the mobile-phone giant Ericsson. It now employs 1,500 people and claims to offer a one-stop solution for telecoms companies across the world, from Zagreb to Kuala Lumpur. Founded by two Irish businessmen, Gilbert Little and Larry Quinn, EXi will do everything from installing a mobile-phone network in the desert to integrating the networks of office blocks for companies such as Nortel and Nokia. A booming market, combined with a diversification of services and international reach, has driven sales growth of 73% a year from £7.5m in 1997 to £38.7m in 2000, when the firm employed 715 people. Like many telecommunications companies, EXi was forced to lay off staff in Britain earlier this year.
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