Page 1

In association with

NORTHERN IRELAND COMPANIES 2019

Your guide to the leading profit-makers, employers and business people


Contents  INTRODUCTION 

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

3

04

Professor Mark Durkin

06-07 Arthur Cox

08-11

John Simpson

12

Angela McGowan

14

Ann McGregor

16

Business Awards

18-21

Top 100 Tables

22-29

Entries 1-20 profiled

30-42

Entries 21-100 profiled

44

Catalyst Inc

48

Retail overview

50-51

Biggest employers

52-53 Tourism

60

Commercial property PUBLISHED BY Belfast Telegraph 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast, Co. Antrim BT1 1EB ADVERTISING Jackie Reid – Senior Advertising Manager Tel: 028 90554685 j.reid@belfasttelegraph.co.uk EDITOR Margaret Canning mcanning@belfasttelegraph.co.uk TOP 100 Compiled and analysed by John Simpson DESIGN Stuart McKinley – INM Design Studio, Belfast PRINTING INM, Newry

W

elcome to the Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies 2019 in assocation with Arthur Cox. We are proud that the esteemed and well-established legal practice is supporting our must-read guide to Northern Ireland’s most profitable companies for the fifth year in a row. It has been an incredible year for business in Northern Ireland, and not always for the best of reasons. Brexit has loomed large as a complicating factor. But in the absence of a clear way forward from Westminster, companies have been simply doing their best to keep doing business. Membership groups like CBI NI and Manufacturing NI resoundingly backed the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement although the future of that accord is uncertain, and we await the next Brexit deadline of October

with some trepidation. But despite the turmoil of Brexit, and the continued impact on NI plc of the lack of an Executive, the Top 100 provides an opportunity to reflect on what has gone right for business this year. And it was gratifying to hear from one contributor that it’s a pleasure to write for the Top 100 as it’s always a celebration of business. We’re pleased to report that the pre-tax profit threshold has again increased this year. And after years of dominance by Danske Bank, we have a new number one company. Nonetheless, Danske and the other three main banks in Northern Ireland continue to dominate the top 10 — and to change the money in our pockets through the introduction of plastic notes. It’s encouraging to see the continued strong performance of our homegrown, and still independent, trading companies like W&R Barnett, Norbrook Holdings, Almac and SHS Group. Firms have continued to show an appetite for acquisitions and others have launched expansion plans. Change is inevitable in business, even

without political complications. You’ll note changes at the top of some of our companies, including the departure of Janet McCollum, Nicholas Tarrant and Gary Montgomery from Moy Park, NIE Networks and Thompson Aero Seating respectively, where they’ve been replaced by Chris Kirke, Paul Stapleton and Andres Budo. Some one-time stalwarts of the Top 100 are absent. Bus giant Wrights Group doesn’t make it after pre-tax profits went from £10.7m in 2016 to £1.5m in 2017. And Bombardier in Belfast is also out, after an operating loss of £15m. The news from the Canadian manufacturer that it’s putting the Northern Ireland division on the market means that we should have a new aerospace name in the Top 100 in coming years. Most companies helped us update their entries — in the process, letting us know about some fascinating innovations and diversifications. We hope you find the Top 100 a reminder that regardless of what Brexit brings, business in Northern Ireland will keep doing its very best.

By Margaret Canning Belfast Telegraph Business Editor


4

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 FOREWORD  Our top firms are growing profits and many traditional industries continue to thrive and expand

I

t’s been a good year for Northern Ireland’s top 100 most profitable companies with earnings up by 25% from the previous 12 months. This reflects patterns we see in corporate reporting more broadly as large firms continue to increase profits despite challenging global economic conditions. The strong financial performance of the Top 100 is also a very useful barometer for the health of the economy more generally and particularly in terms of job creation and capacity building. Our top 100 companies employ more than 80,000 people, that is over 13% of total private sector employment in Northern Ireland. Since the fall-out from the financial crisis, job creation has been almost entirely reliant on the private sector and despite there being no growth in public sector employment over the last decade, there have never been more people in work in Northern Ireland than there are today. That is a real testament to the strength of our local companies and their ability to innovate and create jobs. The importance of a relatively small number of large firms to an economy cannot be overstated. Notwithstanding the fact that SMEs constitute the vast majority of NI businesses research shows that large companies contribute disproportionately more to a country’s economic performance than these smaller ones. Larger companies have greater capacity to innovate, are more productive, more export focused and they pay higher wages. The Top 100 companies had a wage bill in excess of £2.6bn last year, that is an average salary of over £32,000 (compared to the NI average of just over £27,000). Arising from this juxtaposition of large and small there are some important issues emerging. One is the argument that much can be learned about growth and scaling from these larger companies to the benefit of the SME community. The second is the fact that most larger companies have supply chains involving many SMEs. This is a fact well understood in the local aerospace industry following the Bombardier announcement to sell its Northern Ireland operations. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) indicates that Bombardier has over 200 NI SMEs in its supply chain. So, the potential loss of a large company in a local area has a much greater impact than just those working for that large firm. That said, a strong local supply chain

SUCCESSFUL FIRMS DON’T EMERGE IN ISOLATION BUT CAN DEVELOP IN CLUSTERS THOUGH THAT FORM OF DEVELOPMENT REQUIRES SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT

By Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean of Ulster University Business School increases the attractiveness of any large company to international investors and one can be hopeful and confident that a successful outcome is achieved in that instance. Large firms can do this because they have advantages over small firms. Their economies of scale result in reduced production costs, they have greater bargaining power with suppliers and may be perceived to be of lower risk and therefore have easier and lower cost access to finance. This allows for higher potential profitability which in turn facilitates much greater levels of investment in capital and R&D and increases innovation. While much is made as to the opportunities that reside in new sectors like fintech, AI and

robotics, reviewing this Belfast Telegraph list shows the strength of businesses from traditional industries. The four big banks locally are all in the top 10, again underlining the recent strength of the economy and power/ utility companies also feature strongly at the top of the list. Looking further down the list, agri-food, construction and engineering businesses are very well represented. Although a diversity in sectoral terms has its advantages, a small economy cannot be world-class at everything and Northern Ireland has developed a very strong international reputation in these sectors. Successful companies also tend not to emerge in isolation. As this list shows, groups or clusters of companies develop which can

be successful both locally as well as internationally. This raises an important point for Government regarding the need to focus limited resources on supporting sectors and developing clusters which are most likely to succeed in the competitive global economy of the 21st century. In relation to competitiveness within Northern Ireland, an increased and more targeted approach to investment within higher education is critical as we currently remain the only UK region disinvesting in higher education. This would create a win-win scenario where larger companies would benefit through access to fresh talent that can make an immediate impact and SMEs would gain graduates who have the flexibility, agility and innovation insight needed to enable their company to grow globally. Ulster University Business School is currently taking a highly progressive approach, through a focus on entrepreneurial education, through well-established international and business partnerships. We are presenting an education offer that has been co-created with premier partners in the US and China and a new single ‘front door’ through which all businesses can come to draw value from that education offer. This global footprint and local access to the value it presents is created through a partnership-driven and networked model with a focus on co-creation. It is all about inclusivity and modernity, not exclusivity and tradition. This networked philosophy of doing business is reflected in many of the Top 100 companies listed here – indeed one would expect that a regionally engaged business school operating across Northern Ireland would reflect its market but we, as a university, must do more than mirror the market in which we operate – we must and do bring global perspectives to bear and introduce ways of finding value for companies through that global network. This helps ensure a highly responsive and relevant strategy to NI companies. The recently launched MSc Strategic Growth programme, developed in collaboration with Babson College, Boston is one such example of how relevant business education can work alongside business to ensure optimum business growth and profitability. Such an approach is critical in my view for all companies given the need to future-proof our businesses in the face of unprecedented and technologically-enabled change. See page 6 for a round-up of the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank


6

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

Arthur Cox: The pre-eminent partner for leading businesses With a reputation for providing trusted and pragmatic legal advice, Arthur Cox has long been established as the pre-eminent law firm for leading businesses across Northern Ireland. Working with many of the organisations included among the Top 100 Companies - from large agri-food groups, to advanced manufacturers, property developers, construction firms, and beyond - the firm operates at the very centre of the Northern Ireland economy. Managing Partner Catriona Gibson and Chairman Alan Taylor reflect on a long association with the Top 100 publication and look to a positive future for local businesses


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

7

Alan Taylor, Chairman

Continuing a long association with the Top 100

A

s Arthur Cox continues our long association with the Top 100 Companies publication, it is once again a tremendous pleasure to join with the Belfast Telegraph to celebrate the very best of local business. Regarded as the most comprehensive company league table in Northern Ireland, the Top 100 is the foremost guide of its type and is therefore hugely anticipated each year. As the trusted legal adviser to many of the organisations included on the list, we have the privilege to see their success stories play out, providing an insight into the incredible resilience and excellence in leadership and innovation required to prosper in business. For many of the Top 100, their continued presence on the list is an illustration of their ongoing drive and commitment to operating successfully at the very highest level of the economy. It is heartening also to see strong performances from a number of new entrants. It has been another positive year for Arthur Cox also as we continue to grow and strengthen our expertise across a diverse range of practice areas including Corporate and Commercial, Litigation and Dispute

Resolution, Employment Law, Finance, and Property. Our team of Partners and Associates continue to build on their reputation for being among the most dynamic and innovative in

Northern Ireland, providing nuanced and pragmatic advice that matches the excellence of our wide client base. Making our mark on the economic landscape of the region is important, however,

a sense of corporate social responsibility is also very much engrained in the Arthur Cox culture, permeating all aspects of the firm. That same awareness is present throughout the organisations named in the Top 100 and it is encouraging to see that many of those included in this year’s guide are also active members of Business in the Community (BITC) of which Arthur Cox is a proud partner. We have worked with BITC on a range of initiatives and this year, partnered with the body to provide guidance to other firms on how to maximise their charity partnerships both for their benefiting organisation and the business itself. Arthur Cox’s own chosen charity in 2019 is The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland and staff are taking an active role in volunteering with the organisation that supports and transforms the lives of children in foster care. As a legal adviser to many of the organisations included in the Top 100, we recognise that close relationships, in business and the community, are key to achieving prosperity. May I take this opportunity to congratulate all those listed in this year’s Top 100 and wish them all every continuing success in the years to come.

quarter of 2018 was at its highest level in a decade, having recorded annual growth every quarter since the end of 2014. The data, published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), also revealed that the level of production sector output had increased by 2.4% over the year. The government’s Labour Force Survey meanwhile reported that unemployment levels in Northern Ireland had reached an historic low in the three months to the end of March. It said the rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland, at 2.9%, was lower than that of the UK as a whole and significantly better than those reported in the Republic of Ireland and the European Union.

There is no doubt that significant challenges lie ahead. Companies may have been given more time to prepare for Brexit but the nature of the UK’s departure, with or without a deal, remains unclear and we will not know the shape of our future trading relationship with the EU for some time. However, those organisations included in the Top 100 Companies have proved their capabilities to adapt and flourish regardless of outside influence and I have no doubt, they will continue to do so. On behalf of Arthur Cox, I congratulate all those named among our Top 100 and wish them every future success.

Catriona Gibson, Managing Partner

Top 100:A marker of our resilient business community

s A

year ago, as we reflected on the success of those firms that had been named in the Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies, it was against the backdrop of wider economic and political unpredictability. Chief among concerns highlighted at the time was the lack of clarity over Brexit, coupled with an absence of a fully functioning devolved government at Stormont. Twelve months on, those matters still loom large. The timetable for the UK’s departure from the European Union has been extended to October, while the length of time Northern Ireland has been without an Executive now approaches 900 days. However, just as it did last year, the latest edition of the Top 100 guide does not tell the story of an economy struggling to cope under

a cloud of uncertainty but of a business community that continues to thrive despite the many challenges it faces. The guide features organisations both well-known and less so, representing a wide spectrum of sectors and every region of Northern Ireland. In amongst a strong representation of indigenous firms, many of which have become household names outside the province, are global brands that have established local operations, a clear indication that the region remains an attractive proposition internationally as a place to start and grow businesses. There are plenty of positive signs to be found in wider statistical analysis also. The most recently available Northern Ireland economic output statistics, for example, show that services output during the final


8

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 ANALYSIS 

By John Simpson

How we chose the firms in our 2019 Top 100

T

he year 2018 has been a continuing success story for a broad range of firms doing business in, or from, Northern Ireland or owned by Northern Ireland based people. To qualify as one of the Top 100 the minimum level of pre-tax profit has increased year by year.

Pre-tax profits: 2016

£3.187m

2017

£4.182m

up 31%

2018

£4.413m

up 6%

Selecting a number of businesses to be placed in a league table showing changing degrees of success is revealing. Identifying success is altogether more satisfying than reporting when things go wrong. 2018 was not a boom year: in fact 2018 overall was a year of slow, but undoubted, expansion. The Top 100 league table shows numerous examples of some firms outpacing their rivals. The criterion for selection is easily stated. A yardstick to allow a league table to be devised was needed and, as in other recent years, we focused on evidence of profitability. To develop a coherent base, we emphasised the earning of pre-tax profits. Just to use one indicator, such as pre-tax profits, is not always a useful standalone comparator. Business events, particularly unusual circumstances sometimes creating exceptional income, or gains, or exceptional losses or impairment deductions, which mean that year to year comparators can be less reliable as pointers to trends of change. Nevertheless, to retain a standard presentation affecting all businesses in a professionally consistent way, the Top 100 have been ranked after analysing several hundred sets of registered accounts and compiled from a very long list of locally registered businesses. Listing over 300 businesses in rank order by pre-tax profits is a revealing exercise. One feature deserves special mention. Since pre-tax profits for any individual firm can vary widely from one year to another, small changes in pre-tax profits

can move a specific business many places up or down the list. To illustrate this feature, starting with the pre-tax cut-off point for the 100th business at £4.4m, there are nine firms with pre-tax profits between £4.4m and £4.9m as well as 12 with results in the range £4.0m to £4.39m. Small changes might move a business from 100th to 90th or 112th place in the rank order. In the language of the statisticians, a Top 100 list, year to year, is subject to a major degree of churn without that churn indicating either major successes or failure in the league table. Of businesses which were included in 2018, 23 have left the list but none have closed. And 23 have joined the list, most because of an improved level of profitability.

Summary of results BUSINESSES ATTHETOP OFTHE LEAGUETABLE

T

he businesses recording the highest levels of profits are nearly all wellknown and might be expected to feature is any major commentary on the Northern Ireland economy. In total, the Top 100 have recorded:

Pre-tax profits of £1.880bn Employment costs of £2.743bn Employment of 80,190 people … 2.2% more than last year

Among the 20 businesses posting the highest profits there were: Four banks Six utility companies in electricity, water supply and a port One large property owning business Nine private sector trading businesses

Continued on page 10 


10

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 ANALYSIS 

By John Simpson Notable new entries in the first 20 of the Top 100 on the basis of a surge in pre-tax profits were: SSE Renewables Onshore: £107m pre-tax profits Killultagh Holdings: £ 59m Encirc (ex Quinn Glass): £ 37m Banner Dell (incl. KFC): £ 34m The private sector trading companies showing the highest profits were: This year

Last Year

£’m

£’m

Moy Park

318

302

Almac Group

251

211

N.I.Water

158

161

N.I.E. Networks

147

120

Danske Bank

146

207

Ulster Bank

132

147

First Derivatives

123

101

Norbrook Holdings

120

118

John Graham

114

102

W&R Barnett

108

86

Schrader Electronics

100

107

By calculating the sum of recorded pretax profits and the level of spending on employment costs (wages and salaries plus social security and pension contributions) an estimate of the overall impact of the largest businesses on the economy (indirectly, contribution to GDP) has been prepared. The businesses making the largest contribution

This year

Last year

£‘000

£‘000

Moy Park

64,531

59,709

Schrader Electronics

50,374

56,322

W&R Barnett

46,833

36,244

Terex GB

45,897

28,272

Norbrook Holdings

45,056

49,238

Encirc (Quinnglass)

36,613

(3,102)

Banner Dell (KFC)

34,268

4,257

Almac Group

33,031

26,785

SHS Group

24,449

24,813

I

n a stable business community, identifying the important businesses would be expected to reflect a degree of continuity, year to year, with only a small amount of ‘churn’. Some large businesses will go up and down the league table, based on size and profits but the number of new entrants, or the number of leavers, might be only a small percentage of the final list of 100. The Top 100 list now finalised posed a demanding test of that assumption. Of the 100 now listed, with some surprises, 23 of the businesses are new to the list and, logically, 23 which were included a year ago, have not qualified for inclusion. In support of a search for stability, one feature stands out. Despite the mobility of businesses within this listing, none of the 2018 entries has closed. There has been a small number of mergers and restructuring changes but no single closure. However, even that reassurance calls for some reservations. The scale of changes in profitability, for many businesses, has been large.

Big changes in the qualifying group Of the 23 businesses leaving the list: One now only operates outside NI

22 are businesses where recorded pre-tax profits, which were high enough to qualify for inclusion in 2018, have more recently fallen below £4.4m Of the Top 100, several have registered significant profit increases often in the form of one-off revaluations or restatements, including: SSE Renewables Onshore: an increase of nearly £50m Killultagh Holdings: a change of nearly £100m on the previous year

exceptional costs, capital write-down or impairments taken on to the profit and loss account. Consequently, these decreases are not necessarily an indication of a long-term trading failure. Some of the bigger adjustments affecting businesses leaving the list apply to: AES after a write-down, posting a loss of £76.4m Randox Holdings after posting an exceptional loss of £11.2m Caterpillar Corporation after posting an exceptional loss of £20.9m Wrights Group after a fall in profits of £9m

Of the 23 businesses joining the list:

Encirc: a change of nearly £40m on a previous year

Northstone after a fall in profits of over £4m

Three are newly identified emerging businesses

Banner Dell: a change of nearly £30m on a previous year

Ten of the businesses falling out of the list this year could be described as still coming within a short distance of qualification. Similarly 12 of the newly qualified businesses are, essentially, businesses recording a useful profits increase in normal trading.

20 are businesses which recorded an increase in pre-tax profits to over £4.4m from a lower profit figure a year ago

Decreases in pre-tax profits have been conspicuous for some large businesses. Most of the large decreases can be attributed to


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

11

+325 -399 +262 2,827

Profits grow faster than inflation for most

R

esearch for the Top 100 local businesses gives a better insight into the fortunes, or misfortunes, of the group and allows some business to business comparisons within similar sectors. The important headline is that these businesses, as a group, have registered improved results in the year under review. Companies report with differing year end-dates but our data might be treated as covering a period partially of 2017 and into 2018. The aggregate outcome is a further improvement in profitability: Total pre-tax profits: £1.88 bn (compared to £1.52 bn a year earlier) Pre-tax profits increase: 23% (unadjusted) 13% (adjusted for exceptional changes) The spread of percentage changes in pretax profits is large. 65 businesses registered increased profits; 35 registered a reduction.

Pre-tax profits Percentage change 0 - 9% increase

13

10 – 19%

9

20 – 29%

9

30 - 49%

7

50% +

27

1 - 9% fall

15

10 – 19%

6

20 – 29%

8

30 - 49%

3

50% + fall

3

The interpretation of changes in pre-tax profits merits a degree of caution. Pre-tax profits can be very variable form one year to another. Small changes in sales, profit margins, and costs of materials can all have a much larger impact on profitability. The degree of spread in these figures is not a surprise. The key conclusion lies in the aggregate results which in the year under review were encouraging. There is one indication of a less encouraging set of results this year. Of the 100 businesses selected: In 2018 35 reported a pre-tax loss In 2017 24 reported a pre-tax loss However, a striking feature is the 27 which reported improved pre-tax profits had reported an improvement of over 50%.

The largest employers

T

he list of the Top 100 companies is drawn from the financial results for Northern Ireland registered companies. It does not include performance information for businesses doing business in Northern Ireland but as part of a UK-based organisation since there are no published Northern Ireland results. Through the Equality Commission, details are published of the numbers employed by all private sector businesses (employing more than 25 people). There were, in the last report from the Equality Commission, 15 businesses which employed more than 2,100 people.

The 10 largest private sector employers: details from Equality Commission Monitoring returns1

2018

2017

Change

Tesco

9,871

9,634

+247

Moy Park

4,918

4,593

+325

Asda

4,111

3,911

+200

Bombardier

4,089

4,778

-689

Four Seasons

3,440

3,839

-399

John Henderson

3,035

2,773

+262

Teleperformance

2,873

2,827

+ 46

Noonan Services

2,839

3,600

-761

BT (NI)

2,701

2,529

+172

Marks and Spencer

2,667

2,467

+200

1. Excluding recruitment agencies

In a year by year comparison, the numbers employed by these larger businesses have reflected trends from the wider economy. Retailing in the big groups has shown further expansion which may not be continuing in 2019. Private sector service providers have tended to reduce their employment. SEE PAGES 50 & 51


12

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 CBI VIEW  Our firms have shown nerve and resilience to grow despite the lack of Executive and Brexit uncertainty

T

hat Northern Ireland’s most successful firms continue to prosper against an uncertain backdrop is testament to their forbearance and innovation. Broadly speaking, the challenges they face are the same as last year. Resolving Brexit and restoring the Northern Ireland Executive remain urgent. Making progress in these areas will allow firms to get on with creating a more prosperous society for everyone. But we must also make room to tackle other issues, from designing a future immigration system that works for business to climate change. Before taking a closer look at the to-do list, it’s worth understanding the economic backdrop. Growth is slowing across the UK. And investment is suffering due to the prolonged uncertainty, which is saddling businesses with extra costs and compliance as Brexit no-deal planning continues. The CBI and other expert voices have put forward clear evidence about the harm a hard border would bring. Business has played a huge part in contributing to peace and prosperity across the island of Ireland these past 20 years. For that to continue, the conditions for companies must improve, not worsen. So politicians on all sides must compromise to find a deal that commands a majority in the House of Commons, can be negotiated with the EU and protects the UK and Ireland’s all-island economy. Turning to the UK and Northern Ireland’s future immigration system, the lack of access to skills remains acute, with a majority of CBI NI members highlighting concerns over future labour supply. Our agri-industry, hospitals, housebuilders and retailers are examples of major employers already struggling to find the people they need at salaries well below £30,000. Indeed, our own analysis shows that an ageing population, combined with subdued levels of net migration, will leave the local economy highly exposed to any restrictions on migrant workers. Specifically, CBI estimates show that a 50% reduction in EU migration into the region over the next 20 years would decrease real GDP by 5.3%. This underlines why it is so important to create a post-Brexit immigration system

NI BUSINESS LEADERS IN THE TOP 100 REMAIN FOCUSED ON THE BOTTOM LINE OF COMPETITIVENESS BUTTHEY ALSO FACE THE SAME PROBLEMS AS CEOs AROUND THE GLOBE, LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE, THE SPACE RACE OF OUR TIME

Angela McGowan, CBI Regional Director that works for all UK regions and nations, including Northern Ireland. Moving on, it’s pleasing to see companies listed in this year’s Belfast Telegraph Top 100 coming from a wide range of sectors — from energy production and construction to IT to financial services. Yet they all have a similar outlook on several key micro and macro issues. On the micro side, each of these firms know maintaining a relentless focus on competitiveness and productivity performance is key for success. Whether participating in the robotics revolution, digital connectivity, or driving up innovation, successful firms are continually

exploring ways to drive output growth. We all know investment in technology is just one way to improve performance. Indeed, adopting successful new technologies already available in the market can foster large productivity increases. Beyond technology, how firms lead, develop and engage their people directly impacts business performance. Fresh CBI research suggests businesses have the potential to add more than £110bn to the UK economy by improving their people management practices. At a macro level, there are also common challenges that have rapidly moved up the agenda for the CEOs managing companies

in Northern Ireland. Perhaps the greatest challenge of our age is climate change. From school strikes to the Extinction Rebellion campaign, global protests have raised the right questions and shown that a lack of action will be catastrophic. Sometimes, business is perceived as the obstacle to dealing with climate change. But many companies are leading the charge from the front. From colossal offshore wind turbines to electric vehicle batteries, they are the ones innovating the world away from environmental risks by delivering the technology needed to cut carbon emissions. Without business innovating to create the solutions to the challenges of our generation, there is no way we can stop global warming. Ultimately, progress on climate change requires real solutions and action from business, governments and of course the public too – we all need to make changes to the way each of us lives our lives. Just as we know more than ever about the negative effects of climate change, thankfully, we also know more about the solutions – and the wealth of opportunities they offer. Onshore wind is among the cheapest of all energy sources and solar power continues to fall in price, while rapid advancements in battery technology means electric vehicles are surging in popularity. The scale of the challenge is significant. While shifting towards a zero-carbon future will not be cheap, it is the best value investment that we can make in the long run. However, the costs of any transition cannot be borne by those least able to deal with them. Investing in new technologies must be shared fairly, between consumers, businesses and the Government. The world has reached a large and unavoidable crossroads on climate change. Tough decisions and leadership, from cabinet tables to boardrooms are needed. This is the “space race” of our time, the green race to a better future. The onus is now on politicians and business to work together to create meaningful action on this issue. So, with that in mind, I look forward to seeing more climate change innovators in next year’s list. Meanwhile, I and my colleagues throughout the CBI will be doing all we can to keep on creating the right conditions for businesses of all sizes and sectors to prosper.


14

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 NI CHAMBER VIEW  Top 100 gives us time to reflect on success but also the challenges facing world of business

I

f there is one thing we have learned from how the business sector here reacts in times of political uncertainty it is that resilience and perseverance is a key characteristic of our many successful companies. The publication of Northern Ireland’s Top 100 Companies by the Belfast Telegraph gives us the opportunity to not only reflect on the strength and determination of some of our top performers here, but it allows us to look at the landscape and the challenges that face them. There is no doubt that businesses are getting on with it in terms of trading both domestically and exporting. As it stands our exports were up by 5% to £10.1bn during 2017/18. It is a positive increase, but one that is facing downward pressure from a still uncertain Brexit set-up. The Republic of Ireland remains one of our most significant trade allies and our biggest exporting customer. Exports to the Republic grew by 16% during 2017/18 to £3.9bn, emphasising the market’s importance and how a seamless trading environment between our businesses and customers/suppliers/investors from the Republic must remain in place even in a post-Brexit world. It’s a sentiment that is not only felt by businesses here and in the Republic but one that is acknowledged by other nations with whom we also rely on for trade and investment. When the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited Ireland in April she warned that any hard border that weakened the Good Friday Agreement, would have implications for the US-UK trade deal. It was a stark reminder that not only is frictionless trade between us and our Republic of Ireland counterparts imperative to ensure good relations closer

Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry to home, it’s one that has wider importance that steps beyond our immediate environs. “If there were to be any weakening of the Good Friday accords then there would be no chance whatsoever, a non-starter, for a US-UK trade agreement,” Nancy Pelosi said. The US is our second largest export trading partner after the Republic of Ireland. We want to strengthen trade relationships with the US and indeed further afield, particularly in a post-Brexit era. Local businesses are seeking out new markets and we have seen some growth in trade with the

rest of the world. Latest Nisra figures show that Northern Ireland’s exports outside the EU grew by 5% in 2017/18 to a value of £4.3bn. It is a rise that demonstrates that our firms are not sitting still but looking to markets and opportunities in Australia, the States and China. And while these figures would indicate that there is pro-activeness in our business community, there is

Ann presents a Belfast Telegraph award for Exporting Excellence to Tony Convery of CDE Global

BREXIT PRESENTS CHALLENGES ON MANY LEVELS, INCLUDING PUTTING PRESSURE ON OUR EXPORTS TO THE EU, AND THAT IS A PROMPT TO THOSE IN POWER WHEN CONSIDERING FUTURE TRADING ARRANGEMENTS AS PART OF A DEAL

still an underlying challenge in maintaining relationships with EU customers and suppliers which is perhaps reflected in the fact that exports to the rest of the Europe (excluding the Republic) fell last year by 12% to £2bn. This has been reinforced by NI Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey where some members have told us that the are struggling to or indeed have already lost EU customers because Brexit uncertainty is making them look to suppliers within ‘Remaining’ EU countries. The conclusion that must be taken from these results and the highs and lows, must serve as a serious prompt to those in power to give our businesses clear guidance and practical solutions around our future trading environment, so that operating in an undefined corporate playing field does not become the norm for much longer. Our businesses, and those excelling in the Top 100, shape our economy, boost jobs, develop skills and keep corporate eyes on NI for investment. Their victories and contribution must be acknowledged with answers and promises of stability or ultimately they could face the biggest change to their terms of trade in over a generation. And while we await answers and a restored Executive, we want to praise the Top 100 companies, many of whom are our respected members, and remind them that NI Chamber is focused on supporting firms to scale up and export in spite of uncertainty. We offer this through our Learn Grow Excel initiative of near market trade visits, one-to-one support, cross border meet the buyer event and more. We have also recently launched a new International Division to offer Brexit support and help firms explore new markets so that export growth can continue on an upward trajectory. We would like to congratulate those in the Top 100 for their hard work amid a very complex back drop and wish them continued success for the year ahead.


16

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 BUSINESS AWARDS 

Retailer of the Year Award winners William and Chris Suitor from Suitor Brothers Tailoring, with Retail NI President, Peter McBride

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Owen Brennan of Devenish Nutrition by Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank NI, and Belfast Telegraph publishing director Sarah Little at the Business Awards in association with Ulster Bank

Declan Magee, Joint Head of Litigation, Carson McDowell, presents ITCompany orTeam of the Year to Lorna McAdoo and John Harrower fromVersion1

Outstanding Business of the Year, sponsored by Ulster Bank, presented to Tony Convery and Brendan Maynes from CDE by Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank and Gail Walker, Belfast Telegraph Editor

A night of celebrations

I

t’s the most prestigious night of the congratulated all the nominees. year for businesses and businesspeople And Alastair Hamilton, the chief executive in Northern Ireland. And this year, the of Invest NI, gave an address on the economy. Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in Mr Hamilton also reflected on almost a decade partnership with Ulster Bank were at the top of the economic development agency, bigger and better than ever. as he will be leaving the post later this year. Around 450 of the business world’s brightest He said that over 160 companies have come and best attended the glittering ceremony at to Northern Ireland in the past 10 years with the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast. commitments to create 10,000 jobs. “In the This was the third year in a row that the past five years, Belfast has attracted more Belfast Telegraph was honoured to partner FDI jobs than any other UK city, including London,” he said. with our overall sponsor Ulster Bank to hold the awards. This year marked a new era for Companies and individuals the Belfast Telegraph Business were honoured across 15 catAwards. egories throughout evening. After a long history of chairThis year also brought the ing the judging panel for the awards, economist Professor addition of a live pitching session in which the audiJohn Simpson retired from ence heard one-minute pitch- Sara Murphy and Brenda Mulligan the role last year. es for investment from five from SPAR collect the Excellence This year was therefore the in Marketing award from high-achieving entrepreneurs. first in the hot seat for new Jonathan Martindale of The audience then got to vote chairman of the judging panel, for the best pitch in a nail-biting Phoenix Natural Gas Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean of the Ulster University business moment — not just for the five entreschool. preneurs, but for the entire room. The remainder of the panel was made of Stephen Beck of Zero Waste Biotech won the prize of £4,000 and a full place on Ulster Bank’s John Simpson — who remains as a judge — renowned Accelerator Programme for start-up as well as Richard Donnan of Ulster Bank, businesses. Sadly this meant that Harry Eves Professor Ian McConnell of PwC, Professor of RotaPal, Tricia McNeilly of Otzibrew, Paudie Geoff Simmons of Queen’s University, Roger Fearon of Wibble and Jessica Wilson of Stand Pollen of the Federation of Small Businesses, left empty-handed on the night, though it’s Clare Guinness of the Warrenpoint Harbour safe to say their acumen and eagerness made Authority, Ann McGregor of the NI Chamber a lasting impression on the crowd of potential of Commerce, Jennifer McKeever of Airporter, investors. and Ciara Lagan from Tughans Solicitors. The night was hosted by BBC NI journalist Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the night Mark Simpson, who reminisced about his time was overwhelmingly one of positivity and working in the Belfast Telegraph. celebration for Northern Ireland businesses Richard Donnan, the Ulster Bank head in and businesspeople who will let nothing stand Northern Ireland, welcomed the crowd and in the way of their success.

Where the awards went

Oustanding Business of the Year Healthcare Recruitment Winner: Declan Murdock, AJC Group sponsored by Ulster Bank Winner: CDE Highly commended: Gavin Annon, Mount Charles Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Ulster Bank IT Company or Team of the Year Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman, sponsored by Carson McDowell Winner: Version 1 Devenish Nutrition Excellence in Marketing sponsored Retailer of the Year sponsored by by Phoenix Natural Gas Retail NI Winner: SPAR Winner: Suitor Brothers Tailoring Excellence in Exporting sponsored by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry Winner: CDE Highly commended: Fortress Diagnostics

Excellence in Workplace Health and Wellbeing sponsored by the Public Health Agency Winner: Outsource Solutions (NI) Highly commended: Progressive Building Society

Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership sponsored by Ulster University Business School: Winner: Henderson Foodservice

Best Established Small/Medium Business sponsored by Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast Winners: Lowden Guitars and Digestors Silos and Tanks Highly commended: McElmeel Excellence in Innovation sponsored Mobility Services by MCL Insurance Winner: Wilson’s Auctions Emerging Business or Start-up of the Highly commended: Naturo/Mackle Year sponsored by Wilson Nesbitt Winner: Groundswell Pet Foods Chefs Selection Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media sponsored by Sparq Winner: GroundsWell/Neurovalens Highly commended: Balloo Hire Centres

SME Healthcare Business of the Year sponsored by Linwoods Winner: Fortress Diagnostics

Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility sponsored by ASDA Young Business Person of the Winner: Grafton Recruitment Year sponsored by Direct Medics Highly commended: NI Water


18

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

1-25 No.

Name

Sector

Year end

Electricity

3.18

Pre-tax profits £’000 107,139

Pre-tax pr No. year ago Employees £’000 57,297 none

Pay bill £’000

1

SSE Ren.Onshore

none

2

N.I.Water

Utility

3.18

94,478

102,912

1,302

63,865

3

Danske Bank

Bank

12.18

88,800

147,500

1,328

57,400

4

Bank of Ireland in NI

Banking franchise

12.18

69,000

53,000

900e

5

N.I.E Networks

Utility

12.18

68,000

52,800

1,203

79,000

6

Belfast Harbour

Port

12.17

65,834

35,837

148

8,100

7

Moy Park

Poultry processor

12.17

64,531

59,709

9,839

253,564

8

Killultagh Holdings

Property

3.18

59,316

(41,617)

0

0

9

First Trust Bank

Bank

12.16

54,000

47,000

771

n.a

10

Ulster Bank

Bank

12.18

51,000

61,000

2,000

81,000

11

Schrader Electronics

Electronic.Engin’g

12.17

50,374

56,322

1,387

49,892

12

W&R Barnett

Grain imports etc

7.17

46,833

36,244

1,485

60,981

13

Terex GB

Engineering

12.17

45,897

28,272

1,623

45,128

14

Norbrook Holdings

Veterinary Prod.

7.18

45,056

49,238

1,983

75,546

15

Viridian Gp. Invest.

Utility

3.18

42,900b

56,200b

655

32,400

16

Phoenix natural gas

Utility

12.17

37,901

7,981

119

5,725

17

Encirc

Glass

12.17

36,613

(3,102)

1,207

55,996

18

Banner Dell [KFC]

Fast food & prop.

12.17

34,268

4,257

3,466

43,428

19

Almac Group

Pharmaceuticals

9.17

33,031

26,785

4,407

218,084

20

SHS Group

Distribution

12.17

24,449

24,813

878

34,579

21

N.I.I.B. Group [BoI]

Finance

12.18

22,401

23,869

121

6,249

22

Golden Vale NI

Dairy products

12.17

20,928

3,436

nil

nil

23

John Henderson

Distribution

12.17

20,040

20,347

3,387

65,296

24

LCC Group [Lissan]

Distribution

9.17

19,864

20,815

246

7,359

25

Allstate NI

IT

12.17

18,123

(5,809)

2,057

81,095

n.a


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

26-50

19

No.

Name

26

FP McCann Gp

Construction

12.18

Pre-tax profits £’000 17,899

27

McAleer & Rushe

Construction

12.18

16,777

13,386

332

22,567

28

TG Eakin

Medical equip.

3.18

16,078

18,096

73

2,462

29

Clearway Holdings

Waste recovery

12.17

15,796

8,920

168

6,690

30

Hilton Foods UK

Food processing

12.17

15,651

14,535

1,210

29,100

31

Dragonglass: Hilton

Hotel

12.17

15,386

1,506

n.s

n.s

32

Severfield (NI)

Steelwork

3.18

14,811

11,032

302

13,419

33

Denvir Hld (Argento)

Distribution

6.18

14,276

7,659

776

7,724

34

Kainos Group plc

IT

3.18

14,251

13,320

964

55,881

35

Isaac Agnew [7 cos]

Vehicle sales

12.17

13,325

12,162

1,020

32,390

36

John Graham

Construction

3.18

13,117

16,056

2,108

101,270

37

Gardrum Holdings

Auctions

12.17

15,329

13,104

79

4,425

38

Montupet

Engineering

12.17

12,693

13,283

569

19,550

39

Capita managed IT sol

IT

12.17

12,103

16,564

651

27,065

40

First Derivatives

IT

2.18

12,097

12,498

1,909

110,465

41

GE Grid Solutions

Engineering

12.17

11,848

16,659

253

15,534

42

Seagate Tech.

IT [£=$1.3]

6.18

11,814

9,148

1,329

60,321

43

Glen Electric [Hold.]

Invest Hld

3.17

11,581

1,915

0

44

McLaughlin& Harvey

Construction

12.17

11,068

5,537

790

42,814

45

Bemis Healthcare

Paper manuf.

12.17

10,752

8,453

284

8,392

46

Ulster Carpet Mills

Textiles

3.18

10,702

6,717

666

25,843

47

Thompson Aero S

Engineering

12.17

10,665

6,033a

543

23,858

48

Dale Farm Co-op.

Milk Processing.

3.18

10,101

7,916

1,090

35,114

49

Dunbia

Meat Processing

3.18

9,611a

11,779

4,869

89,583a

50

Andor Technology

Cameras

3.18

9,592

12,678

282

14,933

Sector

Year end

Pre-tax pr No. year ago Employees £’000 19,471 1,592

Pay bill £’000 60,468

0


20

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

51-75 51

SSE Airtricity (2 cos)

Elect & Gas

3.18

Pre-tax profits £’000 9,472

52

Tobermore Concrete

Manufacturing.

4.18

9,138

9,968

273

8,520

53

Lagan Asphalt, B’don

Civil Engineering

12.17

9,003

5,974

107

7,434

54

Progressive Building

Financial services

12.18

9,000

10,700

182

8,000

55

McCloskey Internat.

Engineering

9.18

8,860

2,681

330

12,031

56

Deka Energy Ass

Utility:firmus

12.17

8,594

10,732

101

4,254

57

Heron Bros

Construction

2.18

8,552

12,798

248

9,982

58

Coca-Cola HBC

Drinks

12.17

8,087

4,181

434

19,862

59

Chain Reaction Cy

Distribution

12.17

8,069a

5,703

384

11,009

60

Liberty Info.Tech.

IT

12.17

7,933

7,022

521

28,365

61

Multi Packaging (B’f)

Packaging

9.17

7,894a

6,722

161

5,367

62

MJM Marine

Const. Fit out

12.17

7,832

7,448

230

7,753

63

Kilwaughter Holdings

Chemicals

4.18

7,744

9,627

157

6,787

64

Heartsine Technology

Medical equip

12.17

7,707

7,691a

158

5,423a

65

Forestside Acquisit.

Property

12.17

7,246

5,868

0

66

Brett Martin Hlds

Construct materials

12.17

7,198

7,349

968

31,408

67

Tullymore House

Hotels inc.Galgorm

10.17

7,041

3,721

498

9,333

68

Charles Hurst

Distribution Cars

12.17

7,028

7,726

809

24,470

69

Andras House

Hotels

4.18

6,998

3,213

248

5,370

70

Old Bushmills Dis.

Spirits

12.17

6,904

7,101

110

6,072

71

Golf Holdings [6 cos]

Drinks distribution

12.17

6,887

5,135

1,625

23,863

72

Kilmona Group

Hotels etc

6.18

6,850

13,830

301

2,654

73

CDE Global

Engineering

12.17

6,746

5,299

236

7,911

74

Geda Construct LLP

Construction

12.17

6,572

6,188

n.s

n.s

75

Whitemountain

Construction

12.17

6,563

6,387

232

10,618

No.

Name

Sector

Year end

Pre-tax pr No. year ago Employees £’000 23,805 160

Pay bill £’000 3,953

0


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

76-100

21

76

Harry Corry

Distribution

2.18

Pre-tax profits £’000 6,459

77

CB SME

Construction

6.18

6,392

5,713

89

3,969

78

Tennents NI

Drinks distribution.

2.18

6,246

7,035

109

3,987

79

Belfast Int. Airport

Airport

12.17

6,243

611

201

9,911

80

Lough Erne Inv

Egg process

12.17

6,157

5,357

149

3,960

81

Titanic Property Dev

Property developer.

12.17

6,176

10,472

15

631

82

Diageo [2 cos]

Drinks

6.18

6,109

5,568

254

14,149

83

Mac-Interiors.

Construction

12.17

6,098

3,387

83

5,255

84

Lagan Homes UK Gp

Construction

12.17

5,818

4,410

21

719

85

BA Kitchen Comp

Wood units

3.18

5,707

4,198

230

5,928

86

Keystone Holdings

Const.materials

12.17

5,625

2,663

485

12,145

87

Portview Holdings

Construction

11.17

5,501

3,093

84

5,586

88

Decora Blind Systems

Manufacturer

12.17

5,430

3,954

771

15,355

89

Huhtamaki (Lur)

Paper products

12.17

5,238

5,062

228

8,190

90

Hastings Hotel Gp

Hotels

10.17

5,236

4,918

1,106

13,252

91

Westland Horticulture

Garden centre etc.

8.17

5,011

4,221

588

19,727

92

Premier Electrics

Construction

3.18

4,859

3,628

61

6,280

93

DCC Energy

Energy Fuel

3.18

4,846

2,850

152

5,297

94

Macnaughton Blair

Distribution.

12.17

4,730

3,525

442

13,766

95

Lagan Cons. Inter.

Construction

3.18

4,581

6,556

127

8,683

96

Regen Waste Hld.

Waste recycle

12.17

4,547

4,895

172

5,007

97

Western Build S Hld

Construction

4.18

4,553

4,480

54

2,305

98

Haldane Shiells

Distribution

12.17

4,437

4,034

541

15,303

99

Kingspan Envir.

Engineering

12.17

4,435

6,142

715

27,790

Transport

9.17

4,413

6,895

2,521

85,928

No.

Name

100 Ballyvesey Hld

Sector

Year end

Pre-tax pr No. year ago Employees £’000 4,008 675

Pay bill £’000 11,644


22

1

TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

SSE Renewable Onshore Managing director: Jim Smith Pre-tax profit: £107m Employment: 169* Millennium House 19-25 Great Victoria Street Belfast Tel: 0345 850 8940 www.sse.com

S

SE Renewables, part of the FTSE-listed SSE plc, is a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy assets totalling over 4GW of installed capacity, making it the largest renewables company operating across the UK and Ireland. In addition to its operational fleet, SSE Renewables is developing an onshore wind energy pipeline of over 1GW, and the largest offshore wind pipeline of any UK company at nearly 7GW. *SSE Renewables employs 169 people in the UK, including employees in Northern Ireland, involved in developing and operating onshore and offshore wind farms, flexible hydro power stations, and pumped storage facilities. Additionally, SSE Renewables has created thousands of supply chain jobs and supported local businesses across Northern Ireland and Great Britain through the construction of its renewable generation sites. SSE Renewables is Northern Ireland’s leading renewable energy generator, with over £0.5bn invested in the development of its onshore wind farms here since 2008. The green energy generated at its four operational wind farms has played a significant contribution in helping Northern Ireland meet its 40% target of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020. The company’s generation fleet includes Northern Ireland’s largest wind farm, the 73-megawatt Slieve Kirk Wind Park near Limavady, Co Londonderry, and Bessy Bell Wind Farm in Co Tyrone, phase 1 of which dates back to 1995, making it one of Northern Ireland’s original commercial wind farms. Tievenameenta and Slieve Divena II Wind Farms in Co Tyrone both became operational in 2017, with their first full year of operation

in 2018. This brings the company’s total renewable energy capacity in Northern Ireland to 140 megawatts, enough to power around 190,000 homes here. SSE Renewables is developing a £150m wind farm near Cookstown in Co. Tyrone, which would represent its single biggest investment in the economy here to date. The 139MW Doraville Wind Farm would utilise latest renewable energy technology to produce

Ulster University, South West College and North West Regional College. Managing director Jim Smith said: “SSE Renewables has a clear ambition and vision. It’s to help decarbonise electricity in the UK, Ireland and across Europe within the next 25 years, and to be a leading energy company in a low-carbon world, leading the fight against climate change. Across the UK and Ireland, we’re aiming to treble our renewable energy

enough green energy to power around 200,000 homes, and would double the company’s generation capacity in Northern Ireland. Through its Community Fund, SSE Renewables has presented almost £2m in funding to communities close to its wind farms in Northern Ireland, supporting a variety of local energy-efficiency and sustainability projects. The company has also provided over £350,000 in scholarship funding to over 120 local students attending

output to 30 terawatt-hours a year by 2030, and we currently have a development pipeline of almost 8GW of offshore and onshore wind energy development projects that will help us to achieve that aim. At SSE Renewables, we’re proud of the economic, social and environmental contributions of our renewable energy projects in Northern Ireland, including the region’s largest wind farm, Slieve Kirk Wind Park.”


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

23

NORTHERN IRELAND’S TOP 100 COMPANIES IN PROFILE

2

NI Water Chief executive: Sara Venning Pre-tax profit: £94.5m Employment: 1,302 Pay bill: £63.9m 40 Old Westland Road Belfast BT14 6TE Tel: 08457 440088 www.niwater.com

N

I Water says that it delivers what matters and exists to provide the water for life which is relied upon to thrive. The company observes that every aspect of life in Northern Ireland depends on its vital infrastructure. The business is essential to support a healthy and thriving population, a growing economy and a flourishing natural environment. The company says that its focus is “to consistently deliver high quality drinking water and recycle used water safely to the environment”. To provide a sense of scale, NI Water delivers 570 million litres of clean, safe drinking water to 860,000 households and businesses and recycles 340 million litres of used water from 700,000 households and businesses. It costs around £460m each year to deliver water services in Northern Ireland. Thousands of assets at a value of around £3bn, are operated and maintained to provide NI Water’s services. It assets include over 40,000km of water mains and sewers — one and a half times longer than Northern Ireland’s entire road network and long enough to circle planet earth. The company, which is a government-owned company or GoCo, says that since its formation in 2007, “we have been leading the challenge on doing more for customers, with fewer resources”.

“We have transformed the delivery of water services, delivering record levels of service for our customers while reducing our cost base through sustainable efficiencies. “NI Water is one of the most successful examples of a public sector organisation achieving private sector levels of performance and efficiency.” But the company also calls for changes to its governance and funding if it’s to continue its performance. “The Department for Infrastructure, the independent Utility Regulator and many informed commentators agree that the current governance and funding of water and sewerage services requires revision.

“The public policy objectives for water and sewerage services remain under-funded.” The company is now developing its investment plan for the next Price Control period, 2021-2027 (PC21). It says that around £2.5bn will be needed to address capacity issues and continue providing essential services. This includes an investment of around £1bn in the Living with Water Programme, which will provide sewerage treatment and drainage infrastructure in greater Belfast during the 2020s to support the existing population and allow it to grow. The company adds: “The services provided by the company are essential for a modern regional economy. “NI Water is committed to working with all its strategic partners in both the public and private sectors to secure the necessary investment to deliver resilient and sustainable services for customers.” During the year the company spoke out over the burdens being placed on its infrastructure from the increased rate of housebuilding in the province. The company said extra funding was needed to bring waste water infrastructure up to date, or the rate of new housebuilding would be hampered. It highlighted a lack of capacity at 70 sewage treatment works across the province, including Limavady, Lurgan and Larne. Earlier this year the company also increased its charges to business customers by 2.7%, a level determined by the Utility Regulator. However, domestic customers are still not charged for water.


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

24

NORTHERN IRELAND’S TOP 100 COMPANIES IN PROFILE

3

D

Danske Bank Chief executive: Kevin Kingston Pre-tax profit: £88.8m Employment: 1,328 Pay bill: £57.4m Donegall Square West Belfast BT1 6JS Tel: 028 9004 6100 www.danskebank.co.uk

anske Bank in Northern Ireland reported pre-tax profits of £88.8m and a profit before impairments of £92m for the year to end December 2018. Profit before impairment charges was down 22%. But the bank said that the underlying performance of the business remained strong. The year before, 2017, had benefited from two one-off credits following sale of th bank’s wealth business and pension changes. In 2018, total income was up 2% yearon-year reflecting growth in lending (8% higher) and deposits (7% higher) and higher UK interest rates, partially offset by the inclusion in 2017 of income from the proceeds of the sale of the bank’s wealth business. The bank said that the year-on-year increase in expenses was primarily due to the non-recurring impact in 2017 of changes made to the bank’s pension scheme. Underlying costs were 4% higher, which the bank said was due to ongoing investment in new customer solutions and skills. Profit before tax reduced year-on-year, further reflecting a low net loan impairment charge in 2018 compared to the net recoveries reported in recent years. Danske Bank said it continued to have a strong capacity to support further lending growth as demonstrated by a loan to deposit ratio of 76%. It was also a strong year for Danske Bank’s mortgage business, with new mortgage lending up 26% compared to 2017. Danske Bank says that it has more mortgage consultants based in NI than any other bank, and has now set up a new team of

4

NIE Networks Managing director: Paul Stapleton

Pre-tax profit: £69m

Pre-tax profit: £68m

Employment: 900

Employment: 1,203

Pay bill: Not stated

Pay bill: £79m

1 Donegall Square South Belfast BT1 5LR Tel: 028 9043 3420 www.bankofirelanduk.com ank of Ireland reported a £16m increase in the underlying profit of its Northern Ireland business to £69m during 2018. That was despite its income dipping from £147m to £145m last year. Its local operation includes 28 branches and six business centres, serving around 300,000 customers. The group’s latest annual report said the 30% increase in the underlying profit of its business here was due to “consistent margin management and cost control, along with net impairment gains during 2018”. Bank of Ireland’s NI commercial lending portfolio

having previously introduced Apple Pay and Fitbit Pay. Danske also launched a dedicated fintech co-creation space on the ground floor of its Belfast headquarters — the Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub. It announced two branch closures in response to “continuing changes in customer behaviour”. Following the closures, the bank will have a network of 40 branches. In corporate and business banking, lending was up 6% yearon-year during 2018. Some notable deals included funding support for Andras Hotel Group, IT company Novosco, consumer goods firm SHS Group, agri business Devenish Nutrition and garden goods supplier Westland.

5

Bank of Ireland UK Managing director NI: Ian Sheppard

B

relationship managers dedicated to serving the independent mortgage broker network. It says that it’s now providing one in four first time buyer mortgages and one in five of all mortgages in NI. Danske Bank said that it was also delighted to win the overall inhouse contact centre of the year accolade at the Contact Centre Network Northern Ireland awards. During 2018 Danske Bank also saw further adoption of its digital channels, with more than 4 million digital logons per month. New offerings included the introduction of a new customer App, as well as new customer mobile payment options. Danske said that it also became the first of the main local NI banks to offer customers all of the main contactless services,

decreased by £100m to £1.2bn last year. The lender said it set up consumer and business direct teams here during 2018, allowing customers to obtain borrowing facilities through a locally based telephone channel. But it also warned that the absence of a functioning Executive could alter the long-term growth of the economy. Summarising last year’s performance, the report said: “The franchise business in Northern Ireland had a solid 2018 in an otherwise mixed year for the regional economy. “The local housing and labour markets remained steady, boosting the demand for mortgages and helping annual gross lending in the market to recover. “After a difficult decade, the rate of housebuilding is accelerating gradually again with the number of “starts” rising to its highest level since 2007.”

120 Malone Road Belfast BT9 7HT Tel: 03457 643643 www.nienetworks.co.uk

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IE Networks, which is part of ESB, is the owner of the transmission and distribution networks in Northern Ireland and the distribution network operator, transporting electricity to over 860,000 customers including homes, businesses and farms. The company continues to invest in the electricity network with significant upgrade and asset replacement projects taking place across Northern Ireland. Over the next five years the company will invest £277m in upgrade and maintenance of the network. NIE Networks also provides electricity meters and metering data to suppliers and

market operators which is a key role in enabling wholesale and retail market competition. Their ongoing investment programme included the replacement of 43,000 meters in 2018 under the meter recertification programme. The overall renewable generation connected to the electricity network in Northern Ireland reached over 1.6GW last year with 200MW connected during 2018. Through the employment of approximately 1,200 employees and payments to local businesses and authorities the company contributed over £151m to the Northern Ireland economy in 2018. A major focus for NIE Networks moving forward is to continue enabling Northern Ireland’s transition to a low carbon energy system. Managing director Paul Stapleton was appointed to the board in May last year. He is also a director of Energy Networks Association.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

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Corporation Square Belfast BT1 3AL Tel: 028 9055 4403 www.belfast-harbour.co.uk

39 Seagoe Industrial Estate Craigavon BT35 5QE Tel: 028 3835 32233 www.moypark.com

The Linenhall 32 - 38 Linenhall Street Belfast Tel: 028 9027 8899 www.killultagh.com

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Belfast Harbour Chief executive: Joe O’Neill Pre-tax profit: £65.8m Employment: 148 Pay bill: £8.1m

elfast Harbour handled a record 24.6 million tonnes in 2018, representing 70% of all Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade and around 20% of the entire island. In recent years sectors such as aggregates, wind farm machinery, freight, ferry passengers and cruise visits have performed strongly. The Harbour Estate is also a major driver of Northern Ireland’s economy with over 700 firms based there and 27,000 people working and being educated within. Belfast Harbour is also a major investor in infrastructure. In the past decade the Harbour has invested £250m in new marine facilities and the regeneration of the estate. Last year £52m was invested in new capital projects. By the end of 2019 Belfast Harbour will have invested £120m in City Quays and developed 450,000 sq ft of Grade A office space. City Quays 1 and 2 are already complete and planning approval has been granted for the £50m City Quays 3. In 2017 Belfast Harbour opened a new 120,000 sq ft purpose built film studio, workshop and office space at the Northern Foreshore. It has also acquired the Obel 68 office, let to Allen & Overy.

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Moy Park Chief executive: Chris Kirke Pre-tax profit: £64.5m Employment: 9,839 Pay bill: £253.6m

top 15 UK food company, Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s largest private sector business, employing over 13,000 people across facilities in the UK, Holland and France. The business is the European division of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, one of the leading chicken producers in the world. Working with over 800 poultry farmers across Northern Ireland and GB, Moy Park has 40 million birds on the ground at any one time. 2018 saw the firm celebrate 75 years in business while also reaching a major production milestone of processing 6 million fresh chickens per week. It now supplies almost a third of the total UK poultry market. It recently announced a temporary halt to production at its Ballymena, Co Antrim site. Although best known for poultry, Moy Park is also a major producer of beef products, vegetarian products such as spring rolls and onion rings, as well as desserts including donuts and apple pies — a full range from starters and main courses to desserts. The company’s strategic growth programme saw it invest £45m across its facilities last year.

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Killutagh Holdings Director: Brendan Boyd Pre-tax profit: £59.3m Employment: Not stated Pay bill: Not stated

illultagh Estates was set up by Frank Boyd in 1995 with the aim of stimulating growth by providing progressive commercial developments. The company has said it’s since become a key player in the UK’s property sector. It operates a portfolio of major rental and investment projects spanning the industrial, retail, office, development and residential sectors, with a net value of over £200m. The portfolio includes 750,000 sq ft of mixed use space under ownership in Belfast city centre, 1.5 million sq ft of shopping centre and retail space under ownership throughout the UK and 50 acres of residential development lands It recently won planning permission for a new nine storey city centre office building next to Belfast City Hall. It hopes to start full construction on The Mercantile next to Belfast City Hall at Donegall Square South. Killultagh’s proposal involves the demolition of the existing six storey office block between Bank of Ireland and the Metro building at the back of Belfast City Hall, and replacing it with two basement levels and eight floors of offices.

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First Trust Bank Chief executive: Adrian Moynihan Pre-tax profit: £54m Employment: 771 Pay bill: Not stated

Ulster Bank Chief executive: Richard Donnan Pre-tax profit: £51m Employment: 2,000 Pay bill: £81m

Schrader Electronics Chief executive: Graeme Thompson Pre-tax profit: £50.4m Employment: 1,387 Pay bill: £49.9m

92 Ann Street Belfast BT1 3HH Tel: 028 9033 0099 www.firsttrustbank.co.uk

11-16 Donegall Square East Belfast BT1 5UB Tel: 0345 948 2222 www.ulsterbank.co.uk

Belfast Road Antrim Tel: 028 94 461300 www.schraderinternational.com

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irst Trust Bank is a leading bank in Northern Ireland and part of the overall AIB Group. It provides finance and banking services to over 250,000 personal, business and corporate customers across NI. Services are delivered through branches, business centres, digital and phone channels, Post Office counter services and its headquarters in Belfast. First Trust Bank says it plays a major role in backing its customers to achieve their dreams and ambitions. It provides c. £2bn in financing to personal, business and corporate customers across NI, with new lending growing by around 40% between 2017 and 2018. Recent highlights include aiding the development of hotels including the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle and Killeavy Castle in Armagh. The bank has also supported the expansion of firms of all sizes from across NI including Sproules Jewellers in Londonderry and Hannath Estate Agents in Portadown. First Trust Bank has announced it will rebrand as AIB to create a shared and unified brand for its customers across all business operations by the end of 2020.

lster Bank retained the largest share of the personal and business current account market in Northern Ireland in 2018 and helped over 30,000 people get financially fitter through a free Financial Health Check. The bank introduced Northern Ireland’s first paperless mortgage process during the course of the year. Its total new mortgage lending in 2018 increased by over 30%. The year also brought the unveiling of the designs for Ulster Bank’s new polymer £5 and £10 notes which were introduced into circulation in February. Ulster Bank saw drawdowns by small businesses increase 27% in the year, as the bank continued to support a wide range of customers to invest and grow. As the principal sponsor of Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event, the Balmoral Show, it is a major contributor to the farming and food and drink sectors in Northern Ireland. Its Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator has made a significantly positive impression on the entrepreneurial community in Northern Ireland and moved to a new home within the bank’s Donegall Square East headquarters in recent months.

chrader Electronics, based in Antrim, is a pioneer in tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), a vehicle safety feature that is standard in all cars. The company is a world leader in the design and manufacture of valve, mechanical and electronic system components and sensing technologies. It has been part of Sensata Technologies since October 2014. Sensata Technologies Holding N.V. (NYSE:ST) incorporated in the Netherlands, is a global industrial technology company, a leader in the development, manufacture and sale of sensors and controls. Sensata produce a wide range of customised, innovative sensors and controls for mission-critical applications such as thermal circuit breakers in aircraft, pressure sensors in automotive systems and temperature control devices in electric motors. Ireland. The company picked up three awards at the recent Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards which were held at a prestigious ceremony in Titanic Belfast.


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Clarendon House Belfast BT1 3BG Tel: 028 9032 5465 www.wrbarnett.com

Drumquin Road Omagh BT78 5PN 0845 0305 200 www.terex.com

Camlough Road Newry BT35 60Q Tel: 028 3026 4435 www.norbrook.com

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W&R Barnett Chief executive: William Barnett Pre-tax profit: £46.8m Employment: 1,485 Pay bill: £61m

&R Barnett is the holding company of a diversified group of international commodity trading, storage, agribusiness and industrial companies. It is a global trader of molasses and related liquid commodities, and the leading trader of grain and nongrain animal feed commodities in Ireland. The company is also a prominent independent supplier of bulk liquid storage facilities to the UK food, feed, industrial and energy sectors with over 400,000 cubic meters of storage assets located on the Mersey, Humber, Thames and Avonmouth. Through its subsidiary, John Thompson & Sons, the company is the largest manufacturer of animal feed in Northern Ireland. The company entered the corrugated packaging market in 2015 with the acquisition of Logson Holdings Limited and this activity now accounts for a significant proportion of its turnover, profitability and employees. Turnover and profits rose in the year reflecting the first full year incorporating Logson Holdings Ltd, the acquisition of The Boxshop Limited and one-off investment gains. The firm invest heavily in buildings, plant and IT during the year.

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Terex GB Kieran Hegarty Pre-tax profit: £46m Employment: 1,623 Pay bill: £45.1m

erex GB operates within the Terex Materials Processing (MP) segment of Terex Corporation, an American-owned, NYSE-listed global manufacturer. The Terex MP segment delivered strong performance across its portfolio of businesses, with full year 2018 net sales of $1.3bn, an increase of 17%. Growth was driven by global demand for the segment’s crushing and screening products, material handlers, and environmental equipment. The company’s NI-based businesses (crushing and screening, environmental, washing and conveying) include brand names known locally as Powerscreen and Finlay, both of which have been in business between 50 and 60 years in their own right before being acquired by Terex in 1999. Terex currently operates from nine sites in Northern Ireland—across Dungannon, Omagh, Ballymoney, Lurgan, Londonderry and one in Great Britain, employing over 1,800 people. It announced 100 new engineering jobs in Londonderry in a new facility in Campsie earlier this year. Picture courtesy of Daily News, Route One Publishing

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Norbrook Holdings Chief executive: Liam Nagle Pre-tax profit: £45.1m Employment: 1,983 Pay bill: £75.5m

orbrook is a veterinary pharmaceutical company, which was incorporated in 1969 by the late Lord Ballyedmond. Headquartered in Newry, Norbrook is rated among the top 15 largest animal health companies worldwide. The company is focused on animal health products for livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep), pet and equine across more than 100 countries worldwide. With over 45 years’ experience, Norbrook is a major force in veterinary medicines after developing a broad range of livestock and companion animal products for vets, farmers and pet owners alike. Norbrook invests a significant proportion of its revenue in the research and development of new products, fuelling the future growth of the company. In February, the company said it is in the process of stockpiling six months worth of products for its EU customers ahead of what was to have been Brexit day on March 29. It has also revealed that it has spent £3m transferring more than 2,000 product licenses from a UK holding company to a European firm to ensure it can continue to sell into the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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Viridian Group Investments Chief executive: Ian Thom Pre-tax profit: £42.9m Employment: 655 Pay bill: £32.4m

Phoenix Natural Gas Chief executive: Michael McKinstry Pre-tax profit: £37.9m Employment: 119 Pay bill: £5.7m

Encirc Managing director: Adrian Curry Pre-tax profit: £36.6m Employment: 1,207 Pay bill: £56m

64 Newforge Lane Belfast BT9 5NF 028 9038 3757 www.viridiangroup.co.uk

197 Airport Road West Belfast BT3 9ED Tel: 03454 55 55 55 www.phoenixnaturalgas.com

11 Gortahurk Road Derrylin BT92 9DD Tel: 028 6774 8888 www.encirc360.com

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iridian is one of the biggest energy companies in Northern Ireland and the Republic. It owns Power NI, the supplier of electricity to around 600,000 homes and businesses across Northern Ireland, and its power procurement business manages 600 MW of contracted generation capacity here. Viridian also owns Energia Group, an all-island energy business supplying electricity and gas to business customers in Northern Ireland and homes and businesses in the Republic. Energia’s retail supply business is backed by electricity generation from its two combined cycle gas turbines at Huntstown in Dublin, a portfolio of wind generation assets in Northern Ireland and the Republic and long-term power purchase contracts with third party renewable electricity generators.

hoenix Natural Gas is the main natural gas distribution and gas service business in Northern Ireland. Since 1996 it has been introducing natural gas to a new market and establishing a strong and vibrant supporting industry. In the process, the group has gained an international reputation for its commercial and infrastructural development of natural gas in a ‘greenfield’ environment. Shortlisted in the NI Responsible Company of the Year Award, sponsored by Heron Bros., Phoenix Natural Gas demonstrates positive impacts across its people, the planet and the places where it operates and advocates the benefits to encourage others to follow. Michael McKinstry, Phoenix Natural Gas chief executive, said: “Since arriving in Northern Ireland just over 20 years ago, natural gas has lit up the path to a greener future for local energy consumers. Today, Phoenix provides over 220,000 households with an energy source that has removed over 7.5 million tonnes of CO2 from the environment, the equivalent carbon saving of 350,000 cars removed from Northern Ireland’s roads.”

ncirc says it offer a full service for glass production throughout the supply chain, saving time, money and effort. It is based at two sites — one in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, and the other in Elton, Cheshire. It has glass, beverages and logistics divisions. Since the late 1990s, the larger business it has been at the forefront of container glass manufacturing, with £500m invested into its plants. Encirc is part of Spanish glass company Vidrala, which also has sites in Milan and Portugal. Encirc was formerly Quinn Glass, part of the manufacturing empire of Sean Quinn. The Co Fermanagh tycoon lost control of his businesses in 2011. Quinn Glass was bought by Vidrala in a €408.6m (£316.3m) deal in 2015.


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601 Lisburn Road Belfast BT9 7GX 028 9066 9300 www.herbertgroup.co.uk

Almac House 20 Seagoe Industrial Estate BT63 5QD Tel: 028 3833 5815 www.almacgroup.com

199 Airport Road West Belfast BT3 9ED Tel: 0289045 4647 www.shs-group.com

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Banner Dell (KFC) Director: Michael Herbert Pre-tax profit: £34.3m Employment: 3,466 Pay bill: £43.4m

anner Dell is a successful family business, owned by Northern Ireland interests but registered separately in England in mid-February 2015. The group operates across Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland. It operates a large number of retail fast food operations, through the KFC franchise, as well as focusing on property investment and development. The fast food operations are monitored on a month by month basis to assess the growth of business, food costs and labour costs as a percentage of sales and labour hours compared from one store to another. The property portfolio includes shopping centres, industrial estate, and office accommodation. The property is reported to achieve good rental yields. The trading results have been influenced initially in 2015 by the costs of establishing the business. In 2016 and 2017 a positive operating profit was recorded. In 2017, pre-tax profits were increased because of a transfer of income of £30.9m from shares in other companies in the group.

Almac Group Chief executive: Alan Armstrong Pre-tax profit: £33m Employment: 4,407 Pay bill: £218.1m

lmac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. Now celebrating its 50th successful year in business, the international company is a privately owned organisation, headquartered in Craigavon, and has grown organically over the past five decades now employing over 5,000 highly skilled personnel across 17 facilities including Europe, the US and Asia. 2017 — the most recent year for which results are available — was a particularly strong year for Almac with turnover over £531m and profits surpassing £33m. Throughout this year a number of significant investments were made for the long term benefit of the Group including global expansion into key strategic territories to ensure steady and continued growth into the future. These investments included one of the largest pharmaceutical cold store facilities in Europe at its Global HQ campus in Craigavon and a £30m investment in a Brexit-proofing European campus in Dundalk.

SHS Group Chief executive: Elaine Birchall Pre-tax profit: £24.4m Employment: 878 Pay bill: £34.6m

ounded in 1975, the SHS Group operates in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. In 2017, the SHS Group had a turnover of over £545m and profits before tax of £24.5m driven by innovation, new business, brand investment and acquisitions. From its Belfast headquarters, the group’s commercial divisions are supported by centres of excellence including information systems, HR, finance and procurement. The company owns brands such as WKD, Shloer, Bottlegreen, Merrydown Cider, Meridian nut butters, Rocks squash drinks, Zip firelighters and Maguire & Paterson matches. It also distributes a portfolio of well-known brands including Jordans, Ryvita, Pot Noodle, Finish, Mars Drinks and Colgate. It also supplies own label herbs and spices, manufacturing a range of Crucials Sauces and private label condiments and sauces. In 2018, it bought a majority shareholding in the 3V Group, owners of the Meridian and Rocks brands. Meridian is the top brand of nut butter across the UK and Ireland, while Rocks is the leading brand of organic squashes in the UK.


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NIIB Group Managing director: James McGee Pre-tax profit: £22.4m Employment: 121 Pay bill: £6.2m

Golden Vale NI Chief executive: Edmond Scanlon Pre-tax profit: £20.9m Employment: Not stated Pay bill: Not stated

1 Donegall Square South, Belfast, BT1 5LR Tel: 02890 724 464 www.northridgefinance.com

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inance company NIIB, which specialises in car finance trading as Northridge, said it had superb growth during 2018 despite a challenging market environment. It exceeded £1bn in lending and 8,000 vehicles in the funded fleet with Marshall Leasing. Last year was its first full financial year of ownership of Marshall Leasing. NIIB said the companies’ cultural fit has been one of the real strengths of the acquisition. Northridge now offers products through Northridge and Marshall Leasing channels. Northridge said it has seen an increase in business of 31%, strengthened their long term relationships and have grown their network of supporting retailers. James McGee said: “Our focus will be continuing to improve service and investing in new technology so we can serve our customers brilliantly.”

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LCC Group (Lissan) Director: Michael Loughran Pre-tax profit: £19.9m Employment: 246 Pay bill: £7.4m

Millburn Road Coleraine BT52 1QZ Tel: 028 7032 5500 www.kerrygroup.com

John Henderson Holdings Managing directors: Geoffrey and Martin Agnew Pre-tax profit: £20m Employment: 3,387 Pay bill: £65.3m Hightown Road Mallusk Tel: 028 9034 2733 www.henderson-group.com

18 Churchtown Road Cookstown Tel: 028 8676 5588 www.lcccoal.com

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olden Vale NI is part of Irish dairy giant Kerry Group. Kerry Group owns six facilities in Northern Ireland, including Dairy Produce Packers, makers of the popular Coleraine cheese brand, Henry Denny & Sons in Portadown and Golden Cow in Craigavon. In a May trading update Kerry Group said it had made a “solid” start to 2019, with reported revenue up 10.3% in the three months to March 31. Kerry Group reported business volume growth of 3.3% during the period. Its Consumer Foods Kerry Foods arm — which includes its NI-made products — grew 0.8%. Kerry Group reported volume growth across each of the regions it operates in, with particularly strong growth of 9.3% coming from the Asia, Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region, which was led by China.

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ohn Henderson Holdings is the company behind many of Northern Ireland’s best-known brands. The group manages a number of subsidiaries. Henderson Wholesale holds the franchise for Spar, Eurospar and Vivo in NI. It provides a marketing, advisory and distribution service to over 450 grocery retailers. Henderson Retail owns and operates 86 SPAR and EUROSPAR stores. Henderson Foodservice is a food service business. Henderson Group Property owns retail property leased mainly to Henderson Retail. There is also a technology subsidiary and a property management company. Recent retail recruits to the Eurospar stable include JD Hunter & Co supermarket in Markethill, Co Armagh. Henderson Group also acquired Foodco in Co Meath and BD Foods in Monaghan.

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CC Group is made up of LCC Coal, LCC Oil, Go Power and a number of other companies. Profits are largely derived from overseas bulk trading activities as far afield as South Africa, Columbia and across Europe. The bought Cloghan Point Oil Terminal near Carrickfergus from AES Power in a multimillion pound deal. And in October 2016, it bought out its joint venture partner, Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA, to acquire full ownership of the Maydown oil terminal in Co Londonderry. Go Power also supplies electricity in the business market, with government and council contracts to supply electricity. It has gone from employing seven people in 2012 to close to around 240. LCC’s oil division was established in 1997 to expand the range of fuels available to its customers.

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Allstate NI Managing director: John Healy Pre-tax profit: £18.1m Employment: 2,057 Pay bill: £81.1m

FP McCann Chief executive: Eoin McCann Pre-tax profit: £17.9m Employment: 1,592 Pay bill: £60.5m

McAleer & Rushe Managing director: Martin Magee Pre-tax profit: £16.8m Employment: 350 Pay bill: £22.6m

TG Eakin Managing director: Paul Eakin Pre-tax profit: £16.1m Employment: 73 Pay bill: £2.5m

10 Mays Meadow, Belfast BT1 3PH Tel: 028 9067 8058 www.allstateni.com

3 Drumard Road Magherafelt BT45 8QA Tel: 028 79 642558 www.fpmcann.co.uk

17 - 19 Dungannon Road Cookstown Tel: 028 8676 3741 www.mcaleer-rushe.co.uk

15 Ballystockart Road Comber Co Down Tel: 028 9187 1000 www.eakin.eu

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his year marks the 20th anniversary of Allstate in Northern Ireland. Allstate NI provides high quality software development services and business solutions in support of its parent company, The Allstate Corporation. Its Northern Ireland’s largest IT company with 2,400 employees across three sites in Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane. It recently moved to large new premises at Mays Meadow in Belfast. The company says it’s a “major center for innovative software development, covering the full software lifecycle of design, development, maintenance and support and is one of the most dynamic and innovative organisations in the province”. The business says emerging technologies have become integral to the business, while it’s also been on a digital transformation journey to help future-proof the organisation.

agherafelt-based civil engineering and precast concrete manufacturing business FP McCann has demonstrated a strong ability to grow the business both organically and through acquisition. Their most recent acquisitions include Patrick Bradley Ltd (Kilrea), Cootes Concrete Products (Armagh), P. Clarke and Sons Ltd (Lisnaskea), Buchan Concrete (Byley) and Bison Flooring Manufacturing Ltd (Glasgow). As a result, the company is now the largest precast concrete product manufacturer in the UK. It also has a a residential developments division (FP McCann Homes) as well as being a major supplier of quarry products and ready-mix concrete products to the construction industry. Now with 17 offices/facilities throughout the UK, employment in the firm was recorded at 1,592 in the most recent year.

cAleer and Rushe Contracts UK is based in Cookstown with offices in London, Dublin and Belfast. It now employs 350 people in the UK and Ireland and achieved design and build construction turnover of £395m in 2018. The business has a growing client base with around 25 active projects including sites in Glasgow, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Dublin, Belfast and several London projects. The company focuses on residential, commercial office, student accommodation and turnkey hotels. Current projects include the 213,000 sq ft prime grade A office development in central Belfast on Bedford Square, and two London projects — a £130m residential scheme at Wembley and a £82m dual-hotel scheme at Paddington.

G Eakin is a Comber-based company which makes medical skincare products for use in stoma and wound care. The family-run Eakin Group is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest success stories in the health sector. The firm’s biggest market is the US but its products are sold in 40 countries around the world. In 2014, the company invested £12m extending its Comber manufacturing facility to over 100,000 sq ft. It also acquired English firm Cliffe Medical, which owns Respond Plus in Larne, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition of Cliffe was TG Eakin’s first since 2007, when it took over Pelican Healthcare in Cardiff. The company was founded by Tom Eakin and is now run by his sons Paul and Jeremy.


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Clearway Holdings Chief executive: Paul Murphy Pre-tax profit: £15.8m Employment: 168 Pay bill: £6.7m

Hilton Foods UK Director: Nigel Majewski Pre-tax profit: £15.7m Employment: 1,210 Pay bill: £29.1m

Dragonglass: Hilton Area general manager: Mark Walker Pre-tax profit: £15.4m Employment: Not stated Pay bill: Not stated

Severfield (NI) Finance director: Ryan Davis Pre-tax profit: £14.8m Employment: 302 Pay bill: £13.4m

41 Dobbin Road Portadown BT62 4EY Tel: 028 38337333 www.clearwaygroup.co.uk

c/o Pwc Laganbank Road Belfast Tel: 028 9024 5454 www.hiltonfoodgroupplc.com

4 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3LP Tel: 028 9027 7000 www.hilton.com

Ballinamallard Co Fermanagh BT94 2F7 Tel: 028 6638 8521 www.severfield.com

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learway was established in the mid 1960s when John Murphy started in the waste management and scrap recycling business. Clearway operates from four modern processing and exporting facilities located at Portadown (head office), as well as three export divisions in Belfast, Londonderry and Sligo. Each facility accepts and processes all grades of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metals. A landfill site at Aughrim Quarry was acquired by Clearway in 2006. The site has a capacity to receive up to 250,000 tonnes per annum — which Clearway said provides “long-term solutions to the waste disposal of Northern Ireland”.

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ilton Foods, which changed its name from Hilton Meats two years ago, is part of the Hilton Food Group plc group of companies. The group supplies major internationalfood retailers from facilities in the UK. The company buys is meats from a globalbase of suppliers, which it then processesand packs in large scale meat-packing plants for distribution by third-party hauliers to customers. The company says its plants operate at “high volume levels necessary to produce competitive unit packing costs, whilst chieving the levels of hygiene, food safety assurance, shelf life and product quality”. The companies, while registered in Northern Ireland, have their operations in Huntingdon, England.

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ragonglass Belfast is the owner of the Hilton Belfast hotel, one of three hotels in the province operating under a Hilton brand. According to the company’s accounts for 2017, it’s facing competitive risks from competitors opening new hotels or improving an existing hotel. And a strategic report filed with the accounts adds that its “subject to the cyclical nature of the hospitality and travel industry not just in its own market but those of its customers”. The report also refers to the potential impact of Brexit. It says that Brexit may create global economic uncertainty, “which may cause our customers to closely monitor their costs and reduce their spending on travel and corporate events”.

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he Co Fermanagh steel construction firm formerly known as Fisher Engineering is now part of a UK-wide plc based in Dalton. The Northern Ireland firm substantially grew pre-tax profits to £14.8m in the 12 months to March 2018, from just over £11m in the year before. The firm has worked on projects at Wimbledon Centre Court, the Shard and the 2012 Olympic Stadium. Severfield (NI) which employs nearly 300 people in the design, fabrication and installation of steel structures, was known as Fisher Engineering Ltd until a rebrand in 2016.

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Denvir Holdings (Argento) Chief executive: Pete Boyle Pre-tax profit: £14.3m Employment: 776 Pay bill: £7.7m

Kainos Group plc Chief executive: Brendan Mooney Pre-tax profit: £14.3m Employment: 964 Pay bill: £55.9m

Isaac Agnew (7 cos) Group managing director: Yuile Magee Pre-tax profit: £13.3m Employment: 1,020 Pay bill: £32.4m

John Graham Executive chairman: Michael Graham Pre-tax profit: £13.1m Employment: 2,108 Pay bill: £101.3m

12-14 Corn Market Belfast BT1 4DD Tel: 028 9064 4606 www.argento.com

4-6 Upper Crescent Belfast BT7 1NT Tel: 028 9057 1100 www.kainos.com

18 Boucher Way Belfast BT12 6RE Tel: 028-9038-0300 www.agnewcars.com

Ballygowan Road Hillsborough Co Down Tel: 028 9268 9500 www.graham.co.uk

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he company started out as a jeweller under the name Argento but also opened stores devoted to Danish brand Pandora. It has now sold 26 Pandora stores in Scotland and England back to Pandora adding £7m to profits. The move reduced the number of stores in NI to 26 — five Pandora stores and 19 Argento stores. That has led to investment in offices, the company explains: “Most recently, we handed over Laganview House to IT company Teamwork from Cork after a complete renovation. Other investments include a block on Queen Street which will be redeveloped into of 50,000 square foot of Grade A office, due 2023, and a 6,000 sq ft f listed office premises on Lombard Street.” It also spent £4m on an aqua park and watersports resort, Let’s Go Hydro, at Knockbrackn Reservoir in Carryduff, which drew 56,000 visitors in its first year in 2018.

ainos is a major provider of digital services and digital platforms and one of just four NI-based plcs in the Top 100. It works with over 300 public and private sector clients across the globe. Their digital services include full lifecycle development and support for government and commercial customers. Kainos is also the leading European partner for Workday. Their specialised digital platforms are Smart, an automated testing platform for Workday customers, Evolve Electronic Medical Records, the market-leading product for the digitisation of patient notes in the acute sector of the NHS and Evolve Integrated Care, an integrated care platform.Kainos also announced a new Belfast HQ which is set to open in September 2021 at Bankmore Square on Dublin Road. It has 12 offices in Europe and the US.

he Agnew Group is one of Northern Ireland’s leading motor vehicle retailer groups. The company was established in 1931 by the Agnew family and in 2012 became part of the Sytner Group. Sytner’s parent company is Penske Automotive Group Inc. The business represents nine manufacturer brands across 14 locations and a further five separate business entities including a standalone used car outlet, contract hire, trade parts, body shop and trade auction. The group says it “continued to outperform the local market to achieve volume growth”. It accounts for one in five if all NI registrations in 2018 and 65% of all premium branded vehicles. The group has invested in new showroom and forecourt facilities across several of its group brands. Employee numbers increased to 1,020, up 5%.

raham is a privately-owned company specialising in building, civil engineering, interior fit-out, facilities management and investment projects. It operates around the UK and Ireland. It recently announced multi-million pound deals with Crossrail in London and with Belfast Harbour. With an annual turnover of £767m, Graham has worked a broad spectrum of sectors including education and health, highways and rail, and commercial and retail. At home, it’s working on the upgrade of the road network at the A6, and on the delivery of the Royal Victoria Hospital’s new Maternity Unit, the Ulster Hospital’s Acute Services Block and the Acute Mental Health Inpatient Facility at Belfast City Hospital. It’s also worked on the building and fit-out of Erskine House in Chichester Street.


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Gardrum Holdings Director: Derek Keys Pre-tax profit: £15.3m Employment: 79 Pay bill: £4.4m

Montupet Project manager: John McMichael Pre-tax profit: £12.7m Employment: 569 Pay bill: £19.6m

Capita IT and Networks MD, Ireland: Ed Brown Pre-tax profit: £12.1m Employment: 651 Pay bill: £27m

First Derivatives Chief executive: Brian Conlon Pre-tax profit: £12m Employment: 1,909 Pay bill: £110m

72 - 74 Omagh Road Dromore BT78 3AJ Tel: 028 8289 8262 www.euroauctions.com

Dunmurry Co Antrim BT17 9HN Tel: 028 90301049 www.montupet.fr

61 Church Road Newtownabbey BT36 7LQ Tel: 028 9085 9085 www.capita-it.co.uk

3 Canal Quay Newry B35 6BP Tel:028 3025 2242 www.firstderivatives.com

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ardrum Holding’s main business is conducting off-site and onsite machinery auction sales and valuations throughout Europe, trading as Euro Auctions. It’s the biggest auctioneer of construction machinery in the UK. Some group companies hold properties for use within the group or for development and resale. Its first auction took place in Dromore, Co Tyrone in 1998, before holding its first auction outside the province in Wetherby, Yorkshire in 2000. It branched out into holding auctions outside the British Isles in 2006 with an event in Dormagen, Germany. It now has 10 permanent sites around the world, including Brisbane in Australia and Florida and Ohio in the US.

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ontupet has been operating in Northern Ireland since 1989 and is now part of the Canadian industrial group Linamar, based in Guelph, Ontario. The Montupet Group was purchased by Linamar in February 2016. The Dunmurry plant manufactures cast aluminium cylinder heads for petrol and diesel engines used by Ford, Peugeot, Citroen and others. This acquisition was to add a leading player in the design and manufacture of complex aluminium light casting to the Linamar capabilities. The larger group now consists of 58 manufacturing plants with a total workforce of 26,000 and total turnover of CAN $6.5bn. The product range encompasses engine, transmission, driveline components and assemblies.

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ewtownabbey-based Capita IT and Networks is a major IT services and solutions organisation, delivering end to end IT solutions, private cloud and IT managed services to education, energy and utilities, health, public and private sector organisations. Working with over 3,000 customers across the UK and Ireland, Capita helps customers to achieve cost efficiencies and service excellence through the delivery of outstanding IT services in an ever changing business landscape. With over 1,200 employees in Northern Ireland, customers include The Education Authority (NI), the Department of Justice and Equality (ROI), An Garda Síochána, Viridian, Norbrook, Balfour Beatty and Transport for London. Capita IT and Networks is a division of Capita plc.

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irst Derivatives (FDP.L) is a global technology provider working with some of the world’s largest finance, technology, retail, pharma, manufacturing and energy institutions. The company’s Kx technology is a leader in high-performance, in-memory computing, streaming analytics and operational intelligence. Kx delivers high-volume, data-intensive analytics and applications across multiple industries. The group operates from 14 offices across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, including its headquarters in Newry, and employs more than 2,600 people worldwide. Recent wins include Google Cloud Technology Partner of the Year for Financial Services for the Kx division. First Derivatives is one of just four plcs in Northern Ireland and is listed on the AIM.

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GE Grid Solutions General manager: Graham McGuigan Pre-tax profit: £11.8m Employment: 253 Pay bill: £15.5m

Seagate Tech VP: Dr Brian Burns Pre-tax profit: £11.8m Employment: 1,329 Pay bill: £60.3m

Glen Electric Holdings Director: Fergal Naughton Pre-tax profit: £11.6m Employment: Not stated Pay bill: Not stated

McLaughlin & Harvey Director: Philip Cheevers Pre-tax profit: £11.1m Employment: 790 Pay bill: £42.8m

7 Lissue Walk Lisburn BT28 2LU Tel: 028 92 622915 www.gegridsolutions.com

Springtown Industrial Estate Londonderry BT48 0LY Tel: 028 7127 4000 www.seagate.com

Greenbank Industrial Estate Warrenpoint Road Newry Tel: 028 3026 4621 www.glendimplex.com

15 Trench Road Newtownabbey BT36 4TY Tel: 028 9034 2777 www.mclh.co.uk

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E Grid Solutions (UK) Limited, a global technology business headquartered in Lisburn is a subsidiary of US multinational General Electric (GE). Operating across aviation, healthcare, capital, transportation, power, oil & gas and digital solutions, GE says that its global teams work on “powering, curing and moving the world”. Leveraging manufacturing and core product expertise out of Lisburn supported by global direct and indirect sales networks, the Lisburn operation is a leading vendor in condition monitoring devices, software and services for Asset Performance Management (APM) of electrical grid and substation equipment such as AIS/GIS and power transformers.

eagate is the industry leader in hard disc drives and storage solutions. The company offers the industry’s broadest portfolio of hard disc drives, solid state drives and hybrid drives, as well as an extensive line of retail storage products for consumers and small businesses. The Springtown facility, which has been operating for over 20 years, is the largest factory of its type. This year it announced a package of investments totalling approximately £57.4m at Springtown in Londonderry. And investment of £47.4m by Seagate is supported by Invest NI with an offer of £9.95m. The funding will be focused on enabling further research and development in nanophotonics, and will also bring 25 highly skilled new jobs. Nanophotonics is the generation and manipulation of tiny points of light to increase storage space.

len Electric acts as an investment holding company and supplier of management services. It’s run by Fergal Naughton, the son of Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton. In 1973 Glen Electric was established by Mr Naughton snr and four colleagues in Newry. The new business started manufacturing oil-filled radiators, employing seven people. With the acquisition of Dimplex in 1977, a company eight times Glen’s size, and a brand leader in electric heating, the ambition of the youngGlen Dimplex management team was confirmed. Today, Glen Dimplex describes itself as “the undisputed world leader in intelligent electric heating and renewable energy solutions, as well as holding significant global market positions in domestic appliances, cooling and ventilation”.

cLaughlin & Harvey is a major construction firm which has worked on a wide range of contracts. McLaughlin & Harvey operates in various sectors including healthcare, education, industrial and retail. It carried out a deal to fit out the new headquarters of UTV at City Quays in Belfast. It has worked extensively in education, including a building at Oxford Brookes University. In Scotland, work has included the included a £7m music department at Fettes College. As well as growing its construction and civil engineering work, it is also increasing its facilities management (FM) services. At present, it carries out FM for retailers including Marks & Spencer and Waitrose in Great Britain. And the business has also said it’s keen to extend its work in airport infrastructure.


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Bemis Healthcare Director: Paul Millar Pre-tax profit: £10.8m Employment: 284 Pay bill: £8.4m

Ulster Carpet Mills Managing director: Nick Coburn Pre-tax profit: £10.7m Employment: 666 Pay bill: £25.8m

Thompson Aero Seating Chief executive: Andres Budo Pre-tax profit: £10.7m Employment: 543 Pay bill: £23.9m

Dale Farm Chief executive: Nick Whelan Pre-tax profit: £10.1m Employment: 1,090 Pay bill: £35.1m

Campsie Industrial Estate Derry BT47 3GQ Tel: 028 7181 4008 www.bemis.com

Castleisland Factory Craigavon BT62 1EE Tel: 028 3833 4433 www.ulstercarpets.com

51 Seagoe Industrial Estate Portadown BT63 5QE Tel: 028 3833 4000 www.thompsonaero.com

Dale Farm House, 15 Dargan Rd, Belfast Tel: 028 9037 2200 www.dalefarm.co.uk

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emis Healthcare Packaging provides high-quality packaging for the protection of medical devices, sensitive drugs and sophisticated diagnostic systems. It specialises in the manufacture of co-extruded, laminated and flexible films, foil barrier laminations, pouches, bags, thermoformed trays, lids, labels, heat seal coated DuPont Tyvek and medical grades of paper. It has eight international facilities including its Derry site. Recent investments include the announcement of a new Business Services Centre in Northern Ireland in Derry to support its European operations with the creation of up to 95 new positions in finance and IT.

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lster Carpets, one of Northern Ireland’s best-known family companies, said 2018 brought another highly successful year with turnover up by 11% to over £76m. Operating profit was also substantially up on the year before. During the last six months the company has commenced its biggest ever investment capital programme. The major development is at the company’s Portadown site but larger scale investments are also underway at Ulster’s two manufacturing divisions in the North of England. In total £40m is being spent to guarantee the long term success of the business.During the two previous financial years, the company took over two businesses, Roger Oates Design and Griffiths Textile Machines. Its long-serving chairman Edward Wilson, son of the firm’s founders, is retiring from the firm.

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he company makes business class seats for clients including Aer Lingus, Delta Air Lines, China Eastern and Philippine Airlines. American Andres Budo has now taken on the role of chief executive. Mr Budo joined Thompson Aero in June last year from Airbus, where he had worked in cabin interiors since 2015. The sale of Thompson Aero Seating to Chinese giant Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) was announced three years ago. Former chief executive Gary Montgomery has now moved to a new ‘strategic’ role with AVIC Cabin Systems Co, part of AVIC. Thompson Aero reported a more than doubling of pre-tax profits to over £10m in its latest accounts. Turnover had also doubled from £52m to £105m.

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ale Farm reported a 28% rise in pre-tax profits to £10.1m for 2017. The UK’s largest dairy co-op also recorded a 24% jump in group turnover to £481m in 2017. Pre-tax profits were up from £7.9m a year earlier, while group operating profit had grown from £9.8m to £12.1m. It’s the third year of growth for Dale farm, which last year announced that it’s now Lidl’s global supplier of cheddar cheese. Dale Farm is owned by more than 1,300 dairy farmers across the UK. It has 10 sites across the UK and brands including Dale Farm Milk, Dale Farm Ice Cream, Dromona, Spelga, and Mullins Ice Cream. It recently announced the closure of its creamery in Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone, and the cessation of production of all Fivemiletown cheeses except its goats cheese.

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Dunbia Managing director: Matthew Dobson Pre-tax profit: £9.6m Employment: 4,869 Pay bill: £89.6m

Andor Technology Chief executive: Gary Wilmot Pre-tax profit: £9.6m Employment: 282 Pay bill: £14.9m

SSE Airtricity (2 cos) Chief executive: Stephen Wheeler Pre-tax profit: £9.5m Employment: 160 Pay bill: £4m

Tobermore Concrete Managing director: David Henderson Pre-tax profit: £9.1m Employment: 273 Pay bill: £8.5m

Granville Industrial Estate, Dungannon, BT70 1NJ Tel: 028 8772 3350 www.dunbia.com

Springvale Business Park, Belfast BT12 7AL Tel: 028 9023 7126 andor.oxinst.com

17 - 25 Great Victoria Street Belfast Tel: 0843 113 1147 www.sseairtricity.com

Tobermore Co Londonderry, BT45 5QF Tel: 028 7964 2411 www.tobermore.co.uk

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ver the course of four decades, brothers Jim and Jack Dobson grew their small Dungannon butcher shop into meat giant Dunbia, with sites throughout the UK and Ireland, turning over almost £800m each year. Set up in 1976 after the brothers bought over a small frozen meat shop in Dungannon, Dunbia has grown to employ over 4,000 staff — 1,200 working in Northern Ireland — across a dozen sites, selling and exporting beef, lamb and pork across the globe. In December 2015, it emerged that the brothers were considering a sale of both the red meat and pork businesses. In 2016, the pork business in Ballymena was sold to Cranswick plc while a joint venture in its red meat was formed with Irish processor Dawn Meats.

ndor Technology developed the world’s first scientific imaging camera in 1989. Today with over 400 people in 16 offices worldwide, distributing products to over 10,000 customers in 55 countries, it says it continues to innovate in scientific solutions for life and physical science research. Andor’s range of high performance imaging solutions are widely regarded as the best in the industry, allowing the business to dominate many of its market segments. The firm says its growth curve is fuelled by investment in people and a detailed strategy. The business says its cameras have allowed researchers worldwide to “push the boundaries of discovery from the smallest particles to the furthest galaxies.” Customers include Nobel-prize winners, with applications such as cancer research and astronomy.

SE Airtricity provides greener electricity, natural gas and essential services to homes and businesses across Northern Ireland. SSE Airtricity supplies electricity and natural gas to around 350,000 household and business customer accounts in Northern Ireland, making it the second-largest provider of energy and related services here. SSE Airtricity is the only energy supplier operating in all market areas in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland’s electricity market, SSE Airtricity is the largest provider of power generated from renewable sources. All of the green energy generated by sister company SSE Renewables at its four wind farms in Northern Ireland, with a combined total power output of 140MW, is provided to SSE Airtricity for its home and business energy customers.

obermore says that world class products and a track record on service have paved the way to exceptional growth. It specialises in the manufacture of paving and walling products for the commercial and domestic markets. The company says it has enjoyed major success in the UK and Ireland, with many high profile applications to date including the Chris Hoy Velodrome and Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport. The firm, which began life in 1942 as a sand and gravel company before diversifying into concrete, has built for the future by investing in a £4m new paving factory. It’s also a UK and European Quality Award winning company and says that it believes in conducting business “in a manner of integrity, honesty and teamwork”.


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Mallusk Newtownabbey BT36 4TZ Tel: 028 9026 1000 www.breedongroup.com

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Lagan Asphalt Managing director: Aidan Mullan Pre-tax profit: £9m Employment: 107 Pay bill: £7.4m

agan Asphalt is a part of the former Lagan Group which has been acquired by the UK plc Breedon Group. Aidan Mullan is the Northern Ireland managing director of Breedon. Lagan Asphalt Group Ltd has evolved from a successful quarrying company formed during the 1960s to become a diversified group of independent and privately-owned construction, manufacturing and civil engineering companies. Investment in manufacturing plants, diversification, R&D, innovation and selective acquisitions has allowed its quality product range grow continually over the last generation. Lagan products include bitumen, asphalt, aggregates, special surfacing products, sand and screeds.

Progressive Building Society Chief executive: Darina Armstrong Pre-tax profit: £9m Employment: 182 Pay bill: £8m

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McCloskey President: Paschal McCloskey Pre-tax profit: £8.9m Employment: 330 Pay bill: £12m

Deka Energy Assoc Managing director: Michael Scott Pre-tax profit: £8.6m Employment: 101 Pay bill: £4.3m

33-37 Wellington Place Beflast Tel: 028 9024 47926 www.theprogressive.com

47 Moor Road Coalisland BT71 4QB Tel: 028 8774 0926 mccloskeyinternational.com

Kilbegs Business Park Antrim BT41 4LZ. Tel: 028 9442 7809 www.firmusenergy.co.uk

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rogressive Building Society is Northern Ireland’s largest locally owned financial institution and its only locally-owned mortgage and savings provider. Last year, Progressive’s new mortgage lending amounted to £219m, an increase of over 9% on 2017. The society also created 6 new jobs in 2018, bringing their employment to over 180 people across its 12 branches. Progressive has a strong presence in towns and cities across Northern Ireland and describes itself as “an integral part of the economy enabling local saving members to fund home ownership for local people”.

cCloskey International leads the screening and crushing industry with equipment including cone, jaw and impact crushers, vibrating screeners, trommels and stacking conveyors. Its products are used in a wide range of industries which include aggregates, landscaping, infrastructure and road building, construction and demolition, mining, waste management and recycling. It has been in operation since 1985. Its head office is in Ontario, Canada. The Tyrone plant houses the world’s premier crusher and screener engineering office. The company says that it’s the largest independent manufacturer of portable screening and crushing equipment in the world, “under the hands-on leadership of the company’s founder and president, Paschal McCloskey”.

irmus energy was initially awarded a licence to develop a ‘Ten Towns’ natural gas network in 2005 and has invested more than £150m in the NI economy, making natural gas available to over 120,000 homes and businesses. firmus energy has laid over 1.3 million metres of natural gas network connecting over 43,000 customers in over 30 cities towns and villages. In addition to its network business firmus supplies natural gas to more than 93,000 business and domestic customers in its own network area along with the Greater Belfast and Gas To The West network. The ambitious future development plans recently announced will include the investment of a further £50m in expanding its network.


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Heron Bros Chief executive: Damian Heron Pre-tax profit: £8.6m Employment: 248 Pay bill: £10m

Coca-Cola HBC Chief executive: Matthieu Seguin Pre-tax profit: £8m Employment: 434 Pay bill: £19.9m

Chain Reaction Cycles Chief executive: Will Kernan Pre-tax profit: £8m Employment: 384* Pay bill: £11m

Liberty IT Managing director: William Hamilton Pre-tax profit: £7.9m Employment: 521 Pay bill: £28.4m

2 St Patrick’s Street Magherafelt BT45 7AL Tel: 028 7962 8505 www.heronbros.com

Knockmore Hill Lisburn BT28 2SZ Tel: 028 9264 2000 www.coca-colahellenicireland.com

24 Boucher Road Belfast BT12 6HR Tel: 028 90 682703 www.chainreactioncycles.com

24-26 Adelaide Street Belfast, BT2 8GD Tel: 028 9016 7033 www.liberty-it.co.uk

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re-tax profits at Londonderry construction firm Heron Bros dropped by a third to £8.6m in the 12 months to February 2018. After reporting one of the most successful years in its 60-year history last December, turnover at the Draperstown-based company dropped 21% to £74.6m in its latest financial year. While the 2017 figures were inflated by the sale of a subsidiary company, Heron Bros’ latest accounts show it did benefit from a significant interest payment from its investment in renewable energy business, Simple Power Ltd. Heron Bros has since sold the wind firm, which had 52 turbines in its portfolio, to London-based investment fund Foresight in a deal announced in October last year.

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oca-Cola HBC NI is a member of the 28 country Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, a a franchisee of the Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola HBC has been operating in Northern Ireland since 1939. From its manufacturing plant at Knockmore Hill in Lisburn and office facility in Dublin, it produces, distributes, markets and sells a wide range of soft drinks to an all-Ireland market. The company’s extensive product portfolio includes Deep RiverRock water, Fruice fruit juice, Powerade and carbonated soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Fanta. Prices of some of its products have increased following the introduction of the sugar tax. The company has lobbied Ministers in the Republic over its concerns for the future of cross-border trading following Brexit.

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hain Reaction Cycles was taken over in 2016 in a multi-million pound deal with rival Wiggle. CRC’s growth into one of the world’s biggest online retailers had been a major success story. After the sale, the founders of CRC, the Watson family, left the board of directors. Following the deal nearly 300 jobs were relocated from locations to Doagh, Carrickfergus and Ballyclare to Wiggle’s headquarters in Wolverhampton. Last year another 20 jobs were under threat at its IT centre in Belfast. The company said at the time that there had been “positive benefits” to the “business reset” since the takeover. It did not provide an update on its NI operations for this publication. *Figure provided in latest company accounts

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arking 20 years in Belfast in 2017, Liberty IT employs over 500 people who develop a wide range of both specialist and enterprise scale applications and websites for its parent company Liberty Mutual The team has grown year on year, enhancing expertise and diversity of work, reinforced by what the company said was “fantastic” teamwork and a strong portfolio of products and services. Liberty IT opened a new modern office based in Blanchardstown Retail Park, Dublin in 2014. Liberty IT’s expertise in designing and implementing innovative IT solutions using both existing and emerging technologies. And it says that its innovation is “combined with the commitment to providing a great place to work for employees”. Career opportunities exist in many areas, including Development, Test, DevOps, Analytics, User Experience (UX) and Infrastructure.

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MJM Marine Director: Naoimh McConville Pre-tax profit: £7.8m Employment: 230 Pay bill: £7.8m

Kilwaughter Holdings Chief executive: Simon McDowell Pre-tax profit: £7.7m Employment: 157 Pay bill: £6.8m

Heartsine/Stryker Chief executive: Kevin A. Lobo Pre-tax profit: £7.7m Employment: 158 Pay bill: £5.4m

Hightown Industrial Estate Newtownabbey Tel: 028 90 804033 www.multipkg.com

Carnbane Business Park Newry BT35 6QH Tel: 028 3025 8450 www.mjm-group.com

9 Starbog Road Larne BT40 2TJ Tel: 028 2826 0766 www.kilwaughter.com

203 Airport Road West Belfast BT3 9ED Tel: 028 9093 9400 www.heartsine.com

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Multi-Packaging Solutions General manager: Chris Dears Pre-tax profit: £7.9m Employment: 161 Pay bill: £5.4m

PS — now WestRock-MPS — came into being in June 2017 when Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS) was taken over by WestRock. As a global supplier of speciality packaging to the pharmaceutical/healthcare, branded food and drink and media sectors, WestRock-MPS’ history goes back more than 150 years in Northern Ireland. It began in the centre of Belfast as WW Cleland in 1865. The company says that WestRock-MPS Belfast is “the modestly-scaled local centre of the organisation of over 45,000 staff operating in 30 countries across four continents”. “We offer global capabilities while maintaining a local emphasis founded on strong business ethics and trusted partnerships.” The company says it also benefits from a strategy of investing in the wellbeing and development of personnel.

JM’s core business is in marine fit-out, a niche in which it has around 35 years’ experience. It combines design services, specialist joinery and manufacturing with project management. It also provides fit-out services to high-end land-based clients. Last year it completed the fit-out of cruise ship the Azamara Pursuit at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. But it has also diversified into retail and property as the owner of Damolly Retail Park in Newry as well as office buildings in Belfast. It has major plans for the revamp of offices at Clarence Chambers and Pearl Assurance House. This year it was announced that MJM’s former Ministry of Defence site at Ballykelly, Co Londonderry had made the shortlist of sites across the UK to become a logistics hub for Heathrow Airport as it embarks on the project to build a third runway.

ilwaughter Holdings Limited is the parent company of Kilwaughter Minerals. Kilwaughter is an established quarry and mineral processer which manufactures and distributes what it says are innovative limestone-based products under the market-leading K Rend and Kilwaughter Lime brands. Kilwaughter recently acquired Alumasc Facades from Alumasc Exterior Building Products Limited. Alumasc Facades supplies external wall insulation systems and render products. Kilwaughter says Alumasc offers “a premium and diverse range of tested and certified systems suitable for all types of construction in new build and refurbishment schemes”. Kilwaughter currently employ 200 people, with its head office in Larne and five distribution centres throughout the UK and Ireland.

eartsine is a Belfast-based maker of life-saving defibrillators. Products include a range of semi-automatic and fully-automatic external defibrillators. Its flagship product is the only one of its kind to provide verbal, visual and audio feedback to a rescuer on the force and rate of compressions. The success of the firm led to it being acquired by US firm Physio-Control in 2015. Physio-Control was later acquired by Stryker. The latter company was founded in 1941 by Dr Homer Stryker, an orthopaedic surgeon from Kalamazoo, Michigan in the US. Heartsine had been founded in 1998 John Anderson with a group of investors. In the 1960s, Professor Anderson had been approached to start the biomedical engineering group at the Royal Victoria Hospital and led the effort to produce the world’s first mobile defibrillator.


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Forestside Acquistions Director: Mark Fenchelle Pre-tax profit: £7.2m Employment: N/a Pay bill: N/a

Brett Martin Holdings Chief executive: Laurence Martin Pre-tax profit: £7.2m Employment: 968 Pay bill: £31.4m

Tullymore House Managing director: Colin Johnson Pre-tax profit: £7m Employment: 498 Pay bill: £9.3m

Charles Hurst Group operations director: Colin McNab Pre-tax profit: £7m Employment: 809 Pay bill: £24.5m

Victoria House Gloucester Street Belfast www.forestside.co.uk

24 Roughfort Road Mallusk, BT36 4RB Tel. 028 90 849999 www.brettmartin.com

Galgorm CoAntrim BT42 1EA Tel: 028 2588 1001 www.galgorm.com

62 Boucher Rd Belfast BT12 6LR Tel: 028 9517 0268 www.charleshurstgroup.co.uk

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orestside Acquisitions is a property investment company relating to south Belfast shopping centre Forestside. Formerly it and Londonderry’s Foyleside had been held in a single company before being split into two separate firms. Both had been backed by Irish venture capital fund Kildare Partners, with two of its directors, Ryan Horstman and Emer Finnan, appointed to both companies. However, they have since resigned from Forestside Acquisitions. Two new directors Mark Fenchelle and Louis Paletta, have now been appointed. Forestside Shopping Centre remains one of Belfast’s most successful retail destinations. A branch of health and beauty retailer chain Superdrug recently opened at the location, in the unit formerly occupied by New Look.

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rett Martin is Northern Ireland’s largest thermoplastics manufacturer with sales of £155.5m in 2017. Established in 1958 the company has grown in significance to become one of the largest manufacturers of polycarbonate in Europe. Privately owned and managed, it has operations at seven separate UK sites with export activities extending to over 70 global markets. Brett Martin’s competencies include plastics extrusion, injection moulding and rotational moulding. Output consists of flat, corrugated and structured plastic sheet in polycarbonate, GRP, PVC, foam PVC, PET and acrylic, pipe extrusions, profile extrusions, and, moulded parts and fittings. Principal market sectors include construction, fabrication, print and display.

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t’s been a period of expansion for Tullymore House Ltd, first known as owners of the luxury Galgorm Resort & Spa in Co Antrim. The business acquired a derelict chapel in south Belfast to turn into a branch of its pizzeria restaurant, Fratelli, before also revealing that it would turn the nearby former parochial house into a boutique hotel. It also owns city centre restaurant Cafe Parisien. However, there was further evidence of greater ambitions this year when it announced it had acquired the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick, which it’s to renovate in a £7m project. Last year it announced the £600,000 purchase and refurbishment of the Castle Kitchen + Bar at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in 2018. The company, now known as Galgorm Collection, was set up by brothers Nicholas and Paul Hill.

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eadquartered at Belfast’s Boucher Road on Europe’s largest automotive site and part of the UK car retail and aftercare giant Lookers plc, Charles Hurst Group is officially Northern Ireland’s largest car retailer. Operating across the island of Ireland since 1911 and employing more than 1,100 staff in 11 locations in Northern Ireland, Charles Hurst represents 18 car manufacturers, three motorcycle manufacturers, a dedicated van centre and four specialist tyre operations. It’s led by group operations director Colin McNab who has been with the company for more than 40 years. Charles Hurst also specialises in luxury, premium brands including Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati and Jaguar Land Rover. Last year, it opened a new £8m ‘dual store’ Jaguar and Land Rover base.

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Andras House Chief executive: Rajesh Rana Pre-tax profit: £7m Employment: 248 Pay bill: £5.4m

Old Bushmills Distillery Master distiller: Colum Egan Pre-tax profit: £6.9m Employment: 110 Pay bill: £6m

Golf Holdings Director: Patrick Hunt Pre-tax profit: £6.9m Employment: 1,625 Pay bill: £23.9m

Kilmona Group Managing director: Paddy Kearney Pre-tax profit: £6.9m Employment: 301 Pay bill: £2.7m

60 Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7BB Tel: 028 9087 8787 www.andrashouse.co.uk

2 Distillery Road Bushmills BT57 8XH Tel: 028 2073 3218 www.bushmills.com

3 Duncrue Place Belfast BT3 9BU Tel: 028 90 746274 www.winemark.com

Bedford House 16-22 Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7FD Tel: 028 9089 1444 www.kilmonaholdings.com

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ndras House Ltd is a leading property development and hospitality company in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was set up in 1981 by Lord Diljit Rana and is now led by his son Rajesh. The company has grown into a multi-million pound organisation with an extensive portfolio of office, hotel and leisure developments. Its portfolio in Belfast is made up of six hotels and serviced apartments on the city’s Lisburn Road. The hotels include the four-star Crowne Plaza in Shaws Bridge, which has 133 rooms, as well as the four-star Holiday Inn in the city centre, with 250 rooms. It added the Hampton by Hilton last year in a new opening in the city centre. It has also won planning permission for a venue in Portrush on the north coast, a boutique hotel on the site of the old Londonderry Hotel.

ushmills Irish whiskey, one of Northern Ireland’s most globally-acclaimed products, has been part of Mexican drinks giant Jose Cuervo since its sale by Diageo in 2015. Jose Cuervo and Old Bushmills Distillery are part of the Becle group. Jose Cuervo’s ownership has brought a surge in ambition for the distillery, which now has planning permission to double production over the next five years. The plans involve a new distillery, boiler house, cooling equipment and barrel store on the existing site, all part of a £60m expansion. Last year the distillery also received permission to build 29 additional maturation warehouses. In a strategic report accompanying its accounts for 2017, the directors comment that Bushmills remains “one of the leaders in the Irish whiskey category and demonstrated a good level of performance in its major markets”.

olf Holdings is the holding company for a group of businesses in the hospitality sector. It’s best-known for Wine Inns, which owns pubs and restaurants such as south Belfast’s Chelsea Wine Bar, and off-licence chain Winemark, which is made up of 84 stores around the province. The group also includes wholesale wine company James E McCabe. Philip Russell Ltd - a wholesale and retail distributor of wines, spirits, drinks and pet food products — is another subsidiary. Golf Holdings is also behind the Russell’s Food and Drink chain of convenience stores. Wine Inns’ Belfast bars also include The Doyen, formerly the King’s Head, Alibi, Cutters, The Parlour, the Four Winds and Robinsons. The Eglantine on University Road was put on the market this year for £1.4m.

ilmona Holdings is a property investment and property development group, based in Belfast, operating in the retail, office, industrial, leisure and residential property sectors. Kilmona is supported by Causeway Asset Management, which describes itself as “a multi-disciplinary commercial and residential property investment and asset management company”. Assets include the former Carryduff Shopping Centre in Co Down, which is to be regenerated in an £8m project. In Belfast city centre, it owns 46,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at Chichester House, which has been recognised for its digital connectivity. It also owns Nine Lanyon Place, where the Department of Finance rents 150,000 sq ft of Grade A office space set over six floors. It also owns city centre hotel Ten Square, which has recently been extended.


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NORTHERN IRELAND’S TOP 100 COMPANIES IN PROFILE

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CDE Global Chairman: Tony Convery Pre-tax profit: £6.7m Employment: 236 Pay bill: £7.9m

Geda Construction Managing partner: Eugene McKenna Pre-tax profit: £6.6m Employment: Not stated Pay bill: Not stated

Whitemountain Managing director: Aidan Mullan Pre-tax profit: £6.6m Employment: 232 Pay bill: £10.6m

Harry Corry Director: William Corry Pre-tax profit: £6.5m Employment: 675 Pay bill: £11.6m

Sandholes Road Cookstown BT80 9HJ Tel: 028 8676 7900 www.cdeglobal.com

36 Moor Road Coalisland BT71 4QB Tel: 028 8774 7600 www.geda.co.uk

5 Blackwater Road Mallusk Newtownabbey Tel: 028 9026 1000 www.breedongroup.com

City Business Park Belfast BT17 9GX Tel: 028 9060 6801 www.harrycorry.com

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ounded in Cookstown in 1992 by Co Down man Tony Convery, CDE is now considered the world’s top wet processing equipment company for the sand and aggregates, mining and waste industries. The company was named the Outstanding Business of the Year in the 2019 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in Partnership with Ulster Bank. Reacting to the win, chairman Tony Convery said he refuses to place limits on his ambitions as an entrepreneur: “We don’t see any limit. Why not be JCB, why not be Jaguar Land Rover, why not be the Google of Northern Ireland?” The company has expanded widely in Northern Ireland, including buying a former Caterpillar NI site in Monkstown where it now has 100 staff, aiming to double that to 200.

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eda Construction LLP is a major building, civil engineering and property development enterprise in Co Tyrone. Since the 1970s Geda Construction has been providing a comprehensive building and civil engineering services to private and public sector clients across the UK and Ireland. The company specialises in the educational, residential, community and industrial markets as well as water infrastructure, reservoirs and wastewater treatment works. Current projects include the construction of retail units for a client in Irthlingborough in England, as well as a housing development on Antrim Road in Ballynahinch for Choice Housing Assocation. It’s also working on a major food distribution centre in Liverpool for Irish food giant, Total Produce.

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hitemountain, formerly part of the Lagan Group, is now part of the UK plc Breedon Group. It was acquired by the plc following the £455m sale of the majority of the Lagan Group. Whitemountain is made up of all Breedon’s construction materials and contracting businesses (aggregates, asphalt, ready mixed concrete, bitumen, highway maintenance, civil engineering and airfield construction) in Northern Ireland, including project delivery in GB. Whitemountain also ships specialist minerals to Great Britain. Its customer base includes leading airport operations, principal contractors in the highways, civil engineering and construction sectors, and public sector roads authorities. It undertakes works as a product supplier, a main contractor, a sub-contractor or a joint venture partner.

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ne of Northern Ireland’s best known family firms, Harry Corry was established by the late Harry Corry, who set up shops in 1971 after initially starting life in the markets in Belfast Harry Corry business operates 50 shops across the island of Ireland and Scotland, specialising in soft furnishings and furniture. In the last three years the various outlets have enjoyed a steady annual increase in turnover. Last year turnover increased by just under 6%, following an increase of over 7% a year earlier. The assessment of the directors is that the business has enjoyed increased footfall and increased basket size per customer. Sales revenue has also increased in euro sales which were partly encouraged by currency fluctuations between the euro and sterling.

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CB SME Stothers Managing director: Colin Cherry Pre-tax profit: £6.4m Employment: 89 Pay bill: £4m

Tennent’s NI Managing director: Tom McCusker Pre-tax profit: £6.2m Employment: 109 Pay bill: £4m

23 Sunwich Street, Belfast BT6 8HR, Tel: 028 9045 0821 www.stothersm-e.co.uk

15 Dargan Road Belfast BT3 9LZ Tel: 028 9595 2100 www.candcgroupplc.com

Airport Road Belfast BT29 4AB Tel: 028 9448 4848 www.belfastairport.com

116 Crom Road Enniskillen BT92 0BN 028 6772 1345 www.readyeggproducts.com

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B SME is the holding company behind Belfast-based building engineering services contractor, Stothers (M&E). The 60-year-old company also has premises in Glasgow and Warrington. Its offices support project delivery across the UK and ROI, with work stretching from Scottish Highlands to the south coast of England and across the border in Dublin. The firm has grown from a small-scale maintenance provider to a national market leader in the provision of mechanical and electrical building services and contract maintenance, carrying out contracts for the NHS, Hastings Hotels, Maybourne Group and many blue-chip main contractors. Current projects include a large-scale office refurbishment in Reading. It’s also on site for a project in the famous University of St Andrews in Scotland.

ennent’s NI is a manufacturer, owner and distributor of drinks brands,combining strong distribution, wholesale marketing capabilities, bolstered by a dedicated sales force. Its brand portfolio includes Magners Cider, as well as beer, wine and soft drink brands. Beers include Tennent’s, Becks Vier, Stella Artois, Staropramen, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Heverlee, Clonmel 1650 and Corona Extra. The company is part of C&C Group plc in the Republic of Ireland. Last year C&C acquired wholesalers Matthew Clark and Bibendum following the administration of parent Conviviality. The deal marked a new era for C&C as it made a definitive entry into the Great Britain market with the acquisition.

Belfast International Airport Managing director: Graham Keddie Pre-tax profit: £6.2m Employment: 201 Pay bill: £9.9m

elfast International Airport, which welcomed 5.8 million passengers in 2017, was sold to international outfit Vinci Airports last year. But the airport has had a difficult 12 months, as it’s beeen dogged by delays for passengers going through security. It announced it would increase the number of security lanes from six to eight by Easter this year. However, while work was taking place, the six current lanes were reduced to five. Long delays on one March morning led the airport to admit that it was “embarrassing and humiliating” for the airport to face a recurrence of the problem. The airport is increasing its spend on facilities, with work starting on a new collection of restaurants and cafes for passengers, called Northern QTR.

Lough Erne Investments Managing director: Charles Crawford Pre-tax profit: £6.2m Employment: 149 Pay bill: £4m

harles Crawford established the company in 1975 as a producer of eggs for the wholesale market. Diversification into egg products such as whites for meringues began in 2002 with the acquisition of liquid egg processing facility, Gracey’s. Ready Egg Products, part of Lough Erne Investments, now produces and processes a range of high quality pasteurised liquid egg products, scrambled egg products and hard boiled eggs in sizes to suit all requirements within the food service and manufacturing sectors throughout the UK and Ireland. In 2014 a new liquid egg processing facility was opened by the company Chesterfield, England. Last year, a second hard-boiled egg production line was installed at its premises in Enniskillen to increase capacity for hardboiled egg orders.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

NORTHERN IRELAND’S TOP 100 COMPANIES IN PROFILE

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Titanic Property Development Director: Jonathan Comerford Pre-tax profit: £6.2m Employment: 15 Pay bill: £0.63m

Diageo (two companies) Country director: Oliver Loomes Pre-tax profit: £6.1m Employment: 254 Pay bill: £14.1m

Mac-Interiors Managing director: Paul McKenna Pre-tax profit: £6m Employment: 83 Pay bill: £5.3m

Lagan Homes UK Group Chairman: Kevin Lagan Pre-tax profit: £5.8m Employment: 21 Pay bill: £0.72m

Queen’s Road Belfast BT3 9DT Tel: 028 9076 6300 www.titanic-quarter.com

Capital House 3 Upper Queen Street Belfast Tel: 028 90 682021 www.diageo.com

4 Downshire Close Newry BT34 1FD Tel: 028 3083 3533 www.mac-group.com

19 Clarendon Road Belfast BT1 3BG Tel: 028 9026 1000 www.laganhomes.com

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he development company behind Belfast’s Titanic Quarter reported a tripling in turnover from £10.4m to £35.4m in 2017. During the year the Titanic Quarter saw developments including the opening of the Titanic Hotel at the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices. It’s already home to a financial services centre, including the offices of Citi, Belfast Met, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, film studios, tech business park, Catalyst Inc, and a Premier Inn hotel. Citi recently announced the purchase of its offices at the Gateway building in the district. JMK Group, which is based in London, recently announced plans for a family-friendly 280-bed hotel at Hamilton Dock in Titanic Quarter.

rinks giant Diageo owns alcohol brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness. Diageo announced that its investing £16m to reduce the amount of plastics used in its beer packaging by removing the plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap from its multipacks of Guinness, Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick’s. Diageo’s bottling and packaging plant in Northern Ireland will be the first site that will be up and running with the new packs, with the business investing £8m in its facility in east Belfast.

ac Group is a specialist contractor in the construction, refurbishment and fit-out of commercial office buildings. It has offices in Newry, Dublin, London and Birmingham It finished a £11m refurbishment of office development River House in Belfast last year. Founder and chief executive Paul McKenna has said it’s benefited from a pick-up in work in Northern Ireland: “Traditionally, a small percentage of our work has been in NI but we are seeing a real buzz and upturn in confidence in Belfast.” Last year the business said it had secured contracts worth more than €90m (£78m) across the UK and Ireland over a six-month period. One of its biggest has been for a mixed-use development for a hotel chain in Liverpool.

agan Homes UK Group remains in the control of Kevin Lagan, who sold the majority of his interests to Breedon Group last year. One of its businesses is Limavady-based FastHouse, which recently completed its contract to provide and erect the timber frames for 466 lodges at the new Center Parcs in Longford in the Republic. The housebuilder’s developments include Ardnavalley in Comber, Co Down, Bushforde Meadows in Antrim and Magheralave Meadows in Lisburn. Mr Lagan and his sons have also set up another business, Lagan Investments, as a vehicle for supporting other businesses. One of its first investments was in tourist attraction Vaults Live in Dublin.


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

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NORTHERN IRELAND’S TOP 100 COMPANIES IN PROFILE

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Keystone Holdings Founder: Sean Coyle Pre-tax profit: £5.6m Employment: 485 Pay bill: £12m

Portview Holdings Managing director: Simon Campbell Pre-tax profit: £5.5m Employment: 84 Pay bill: £5.6m

Decora Blind Systems Managing director: Stuart Dickson Pre-tax profit: £5.4m Employment: 771 Pay bill: £15.4m

Derryloran Industrial Estate Cookstown Tel: 028 8676 4600 www.byba.co.uk

Derryloran Industrial Estate Cookstown BT80 9LU Tel: 028 8676 2184 www.keystonegroup.co.uk

46 Florenceville Ave Belfast BT7 3GZ Tel: 028 9064 4765 www.portview.co.uk

Knockmore Hill Industrial Park Lisburn BT28 2FL Tel: 028 9266 3600 www.decora.co.uk

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BA Kitchen Components Directors: Brian and Kieran McCracken Pre-tax profit: £5.7m Employment: 230 Pay bill: £5.9m

A Kitchen Components Ltd was established in 1990, with headquarters at Cookstown, Co Tyrone. In August 2017, it received investment from private equity fund H2 Equity Partners. It is run by brothers John and Brian McCracken. From three modern production facilities at Cookstown, Doncaster and Rotherham in Kent, BA manufactures kitchen, bedroom and bathroom furniture doors and a range of matching components and accessories. They have now further developed the range by manufacturing kitchen cabinets since August 2016. BA has grown steadily to become a major UK manufacturer and exporter to the UK, European and global furniture components industry. They now supply over 50,000 doors a week to companies worldwide in 27 countries.

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eystone Group is the UK’s largest steel lintel manufacturer and Europe’s fastest growing roof window manufacturer. The company says its has grown to its present position in the marketplace by establishing a reputation for reliable supply of quality specialist products. The company says that production facilities in South Derbyshire, Cwmbran, Cookstown and Poland provide an efficient working environment. The company opened its first premises in 1989 in Cookstown, before adding a distribution depot in Birmingham eight years later. IN 2006, it acquired IG Limited & Acier Building Components and added smartroof to its business in 2012.

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ortview, which has 84 staff and is based off Belfast’s Ormeau Road, has carried out contracts for many famous retailers. In 2017 it completed work on a restaurant at London retailer Liberty and last year it worked on a boutique called the Style Studio for jeweller Tiffany & Co, also in London. Most recently it worked on a fit-out of the world’s biggest Lush store — a specialist in hand-made cosmetics — in Liverpool. Simon Campbell, managing director of Portview, said at the time: “This has been one of our most iconic retail projects to date and it’s a proud moment for us to see it come to life.” Earlier this year Portview was named one of the 2019 Deloitte Best Managed Companies at a gala ceremony in Dublin.

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amily-run Decora Blind Systems has been in business manufacturing its own products for 35 years. It is one of the biggest blinds producers in the UK with brands including Santa Fe Shutters and Sunwood Blinds. The business was founded by Michael and Lynda Dickson, the parents of managing director Stuart Dickson. The business operates over 330,000 sq. ft. with premises in Lisburn and Birmingham. The company says that its manufacturing and distribution facilities provide a worldwide service network, adding “our strategy is central to meeting the demands of our customers and we focus our efforts on building strong supplier and customer relationships”.

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Huhtamaki General manager: Richard Smith Pre-tax profit: £5.2m Employment: 228 Pay bill: £8.2m

Hastings Hotels Group Managing director: Howard Hastings Pre-tax profit: £5.2m Employment: 1,106 Pay bill: £13.3m

Westland Horticulture Director:Scott Dougherty Pre-tax profit: £5m Employment: 588 Pay bill: £19.7m

Premier Electrics Managing director: Tony Shivers Pre-tax profit: £4.9m Employment: 61 Pay bill: £6.3m

41 Inn Road Dollingstown BT66 7JN Tel: 028 3832 7711 www.huhtamaki.com

Stormont Hotel Belfast BT4 3LP Tel: 028 90 458444 www.hastingshotels.com

90 Granville Road Dungannon BT70 1NJ 028 8772 7500 www.gardenhealth.com

Bellaghy Magherafelt BT45 8JQ Tel: 028 7938 6849 www.premierelectrics.com

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uhtamaki Lurgan calls itself “a perfect example of the new circular economy”. The operation, part of a Finnish company, is the largest user of recycled paper in Northern Ireland converting old newspapers and printing off-cuts into egg cartons, egg trays and cup carriers for the food service sector. The Lurgan operation, which employs 228 people, has been making moulded fibre products for over 70 years. It says that it has increased its share of the egg packaging market over the most recent year, with demand expected to grow by around 4% per year. It says that carrier cup production is also continuing to meet demand, with the market tipped for growth of 6.5%. The company is also working to develop other products from re-cycled paper to meet demand for alternatives to plastic.

astings Hotels Group is one of Northern Ireland’s most famouscompanies and owns and operates eight key hotels around the

province. The business, which was founded by the late Sir Billy Hastings, owns Newcastle’s Slieve Donard Hotel, The Stormont, Culloden , Grand Central and Europa hotels in Belfast, Co Antrim’s Ballygally Hotel and the Everglades in Londonderry. The £53m Grand Central opened on Bedford Street last year . The Grand Central is inspired by the original Grand Central Hotel on the city’s Royal Avenue. A restaurant and bar on the first floor nods to Belfast’s maritime history and is named the Seahorse Bar & Bistro. The company’s finance director of nearly 50 years, Edward Carson, has now been announced as its new chairman, succeeding Sir Billy.

estland, which has around 600 staff, is a specialist garden supplies company which owns seed brand Unwins and wild bird feed ranges Peckish, Nature’s Feast and Bucktons. In the most recent of a series of acquisitions, the Dungannon company bought Peterborough firm the Gardman Group out of administration. Gardman Group sells bird care products and garden hardware. Westland has bought all its trading assets, stock and brands, which include Cole and Bright, Grow It, Moulton Mill and Gardman Wild bird care. Westland also bought Lincolnshire fertislise company William Sinclair in 2015, and Cranswick Pet Products in 2012.

lectrics company Premier Electrics recently announced the opening an office in Belfast. Last year it completed work on the electrics of office block River House on the city’s High Street. It’s also carried out work around Europe but said expansion to Belfast was the “logical” next step in its development. In November last year, managing director Tony Shivers said it had a strong order book for 2019. “This year our teams have been working throughout Europe, Great Britain and Ireland carrying out complex, fast-track electrical installations in commercial, office, hospitality and retail markets so our new base in Belfast will act as a strategic hub and better facilitate our staff and our clients,” he said. It now has an office at Lyndon Court in Queen Street.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

NORTHERN IRELAND’S TOP 100 COMPANIES IN PROFILE

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DCC Energy Chief executive: Donal Murphy Pre-tax profit: £4.8m Employment: 152 Pay bill: £5.3m

Macnaughton Blair Chief executive: Gavin Slark Pre-tax profit: £4.7m Employment: 442 Pay bill: £13.8m

Lagan Construction Int Chief executive: Kevin A. Lagan Pre-tax profit: £4.6m Employment: 127 Pay bill: £8.7m

40-48 Airport Rd West Belfast BT3 9ED Tel: 0871 716 9877 www.dcc.ie

10 Falcon Road Belfast BT12 6RD Tel: 028 9038 5363 www.macblair.com

21 – 23 Sydenham Road, Belfast BT3 9HA Tel: (0)28 9045 5531 www.laganscg.com

7 Shepherds Drive Newry Tel: 028 3026 5432 www.regenwaste.com

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CC is a FTSE-100 company that has interests across fuel and energy, technology, and healthcare. It is the owner of EMO Oil. Last year it sold its distribution business in Northern Ireland, which shifted about 250 million litres of product over a 12 month period, to Co Londonderry company Nicholl Oils. DCC owns self-service petrol stations across Europe and is the largest distributor of home heating oil in the UK.

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uilders’ merchants Macnaughton Blair was formed in January 1973 as the result of a merger between two of Northern Ireland’s best known firms in the field, Norman Macnaughton & Sons, and Joseph Blair Ltd, a hardware and ironmongery provider. The merged business was located on the Boucher Road in Belfast where it still operates from today. The single site operation was acquired by Irish business Grafton Group plc in 1989, one of Grafton’s very first acquisitions in the UK. The business grew through a series of acquisitions between 1997 and 2008, increasing the builders merchant branch network in Northern Ireland to 16 branches plus one in Douglas, Isle of Man.

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agan Construction International, now trading as Lagan Specialist Contracting Group, is a private family-owned construction business. It has grown from its quarrying activity origins to become a major international specialist contractor. The wider business has restructured after associated companies went into administration last year. It works across Ireland, the UK and internationally on infrastructure, capital and maintenance projects through a variety of procurement routes for public and private organisations. It has other offices Dublin, Manchester, Livingston and Washington. Its subsidiary Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure and Lagan Airport Maintenance this year announced the opening of a regional office in Warrington, England. Lagan Specialist Contracting also owns H&J Martin.

Regeneration Waste Holdings Managing director: Joseph Doherty Pre-tax profit: £4.5m Employment: 172 Pay bill: £5m

ewry-headquartered Re-Gen Waste Ltd, is a specialist environmental services company providing collection, processing and single stream material resale services for public and private organisations across the UK and Ireland. The company started trading in 2004 and now has one of Europe’s most advanced materials recovery facilities (MRF). The company’s founders say their background in construction served them well in the building process. Re-Gen carries out operations including waste to energy(WtE), mixed dry recycling (MDR) processing, municipal solid waste (MSW) processing, transport and engineering. The company operates its purpose-built installation 24 hours a day and has processed nearly two million tonnes of waste to date.

Western Bldg Systems Managing director: Martin McCloskey Pre-tax profit: £4.6m Employment: 54 Pay bill: £2.3m

Haldane Shiells Managing director: Ian Haldane Pre-tax profit: £4.4m Employment: 541 Pay bill: £15.3m

Mountjoy Road Dungannon BT71 5QE Tel: 028 8774 0740 www.westernbuild.com

Shepherd’s Way Newry BT35 6QQ Tel: 028 3026 3201 www.haldane-fisher.com

180 Gilford Road Portadown Tel: 028 3836 4401 www.www.kingspan.com

607 Antrim Road Newtownabbey Tel: 028 9084 9321

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estern Building Systems (WBS) is a specialist building firm in Co Tyrone. The company faced problems in 2018 when the Republic’s Department of Education ordered structural checks at 42 schools built by the company. It then took legal action against WBS , which in turn is now suing the department for over €750,000 (£647,000) in overdue payments. WBS has seen pre-tax profits rise in its most recent set of accounts. It said that while turnover for the 12 month period to April 2018 had dropped from £37.22m to £34m its pre-tax profits had increased from £4.15m to £4.32m. WBS, which provides buildings primarily for the education, health and commercial sectors, saw direct employment rise during the same period from 45 to 54.

he Haldane Shiells Group is one of the leading independent suppliers to the construction industry in the UK and Ireland, serving trade customers and the public. The company trades under Haldane Fisher in Ireland, Haldane Fisher Isle of Man, and GE Robinson in England bringing the total number of branches within the group to 17. The business has grown organically and through acquisition since it was founded over 70 years ago, but says that it still retains the high levels of personal service of a family run business. The group is predominantly a chain of timber importers, builders and plumbers merchants supplying a huge range of products – everything from timber and building materials to plumbing and heating, home improvement products to internal finish such as kitchens, bathrooms and doors.

Kingspan Water & Energy Divisional MD: Pat Freeman Pre-tax profit: £4.4m Employment: 715 Pay bill: £27.8m

ingspan Water & Energy — formerly Kingspan Environmental — says that it has been creating sustainable solutions to preserve and protect water and energy for over 50 years. The company says its products span two areas – water management solutions, including wastewater, surface water and rainwater harvesting, and energy management solutions, including diesel, oil, agri storage, renewables and hot water cylinders. The business says that service and maintenance solutions is “a linchpin across both portfolios, allowing us to bring our customers an exclusive support package”. “We also offer intelligent monitoring, utilising the Internet of Things to provide our customers with enhanced insight and greater control over their water and energy assets.”

Ballyvesey Holdings Chief executive: Harold Montgomery Pre-tax profit: £4.4m Employment: 2,521 Pay bill: £85.9m

www.ballyveseyholdings.com allyvesey Holdings is a diverse group of over 26 companies indifferent parts of the freight transport business and vehicle sales. It now includes subsidiaries, which rangefrom a recruitment agency in Poland, metal recycling business Ballyvesey Recycling and a trailer manufacturer, Montracon. Other well-known brand names include Montgomery Transport and car retailers J E Coulter. The group is owned by family shareholders and now has its headquarters in Doncaster in the north of England. The trading network extends across Great Britain and Northern Ireland and into Europe. It also operates Montgomery Refrigeration, Sky Platforms, Scotia Plant, Eurofleet rental and Heathrow Truck Centre.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 INNOVATION 

NI’s catalyst for change is full of plans for the future

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nnovation is at the heart of successful companies. This is evident with the businesses that have returned in this year’s Top 100 list and indeed with the others who have made their 2019 debut. At Catalyst, we put innovation at the forefront of everything we do. From the programmes we create, to the entrepreneurs who use our campuses, even in the buildings we design. We have 174 on-campus companies, 900 entrepreneurs, 39 partners and hundreds of mentors and experts providing time and expertise. Our goal is to build a strong connected community inspired by exceptional workspaces allowing entrepreneurs, researchers and enterprises to innovate. In a time when everything is changing the need for innovation has never been greater. Banks are becoming technology companies, data is being captured and analysed continuously from some of the most unusual places. Even bicycle light companies are becoming data analytics companies and becoming a source of intelligence for smart cities. Did you know that even smart bins are a thing? Here in NI it is relatively easy to start a business, but to grow and scale a successful business that makes a serious impact on the world stage, this is a lot more difficult. At Catalyst we want to make it easier for Northern Ireland companies in the Knowledge Economy to not simply exist, but to achieve the greatness they are capable of. SMEs make up 75% of the NI economy. We believe some SMEs have the potential scale and become global leaders. I feel inspired and encouraged everyday with the companies that are already growing, raising money and aiming for greatness based in Catalyst and indeed across Northern Ireland. Companies such as Plotbox based in our Ballymena ECOS campus has won global customers after that changing the face of death care management for cemeteries, biometric technology company B-Secur that is impacting the automotive and health sectors, Neurovalens who raised one of the largest investments by a tech firm, specialises in combining neuroscience and technology to tackle some of the most prevalent health issues affecting the current generation. In these days of disruption, the most incredible opportunities develop. The entrepreneurs and their start-ups can react quickly and get to market before well-established companies. The recent NI Deal Tracker report, it was revealed that companies in Northern Ireland raised £28.8m in 2018, a decline of 12% from 2017 but, encouragingly, it found a small uplift in Venture Capital being attracted from outside Northern Ireland. Forty-nine companies attracted investment of at least £100k, with the average investment figure at £565k, however, as in 2017 there were no investments over £5m into a single company

Elaine Smyth, Director of Innovation at Catalyst, highlights importance of new ideas for business growth

Staff from Catalyst companies take part in a discussion at the NI Deal Tracker event earlier this year which is part of an investment target plan by numerous financial firms here. There is no time for complacency and at Catalyst we are seeing the determination from the companies in our community to ensure they are positioned to collaborate, support and learn together. As Hilary Clinton often quotes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, it takes a well-connected community for businesses to achieve more together than working independently. Corporates are now valuing the start-ups in a way that isn’t threatening. Start-ups are

now accessing corporates and governments with greater ease. One of our greatest challenges faced by innovation companies if that of talent. Government and industry need to work together on addressing provision. Recently we were in inspired to hear that 20 years ago the Irish government agreed to double the number of computer science graduates. A courageous move such as this is much needed in the north. In this year’s Knowledge Economy Report, an independent report Catalyst publishes annually, the good news is that for a fifth

Gavin Kennedy of Bank of Ireland UK, event speaker Peter Worth of School Retool and Elaine Smyth at a recent Future of Work event

consecutive year Northern Ireland is the 2nd fastest growing of the UK regions in terms of activity. However, it also shows that we need to keep working on harnessing innovation within business, improving skills and creating an environment in which we can support talented start-ups to get to market and accelerate growth are major factors for growth. Investing to grow our Knowledge Economy is fundamental to the sustainable success of NI. The research shows that if we achieve the aspirations for the knowledge economy, there would be circa 80,000 jobs and £3.2bn GVA added to our economy. This will require an additional 2,500 skilled people coming into NI and will only be possible if we focus our efforts and our collective responsibility to act now. For companies it is not just what they do but how they do it. The Future of Work Solutions Summit on 29 May will help business leaders to reflect on how work is being done, how the best innovation, technology and humans can work together to provide a step change in performance, productivity and competitiveness. It offers the perfect platform for companies to glean information from the most innovative companies in this space and take them back to their own organisations to change for the better. Disruptive innovation is nothing to be feared, rather it must be embraced and develop in order for us all to reach our full potential.


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 ANALYSIS  Retailers have shown remarkable resilience over the last year and they need to continue to show courage

THE FIRE AT PRIMARK CAUSED DISTRESS TO BELFAST RETAILERS BUT BODIES LIKE THE CITY COUNCIL RALLIED AROUND AND SHOWED STRONG SUPPORT

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f I have learned anything in the last 12 months, it is the true meaning of resilience. Many more qualified than I would describe the past year as an ‘annus horribilis’ for the retail sector with many high street giants exiting the stage. Retailers such as Toys R Us, Coast and Maplin have closed for good while others like the once-mighty Debenhams and House of Fraser continue to struggle. These are challenging times for our retail sector, as 2019 will be the year of reinvention for our sector and for our high streets and town centres. Now more than ever we need to see bold new leadership in the retail sector. The challenges only increased for retailers in Belfast following the devastating fire in the city’s only Primark store which ravaged the iconic Bank Buildings and caused enormous distress for the city’s retail sector, forcing many businesses to close for months. The period that followed with the cordon in place cannot be whitewashed. Many retailers did struggle. But with the backing of Belfast City Council and other trade bodies rallying around to alleviate the situation, many were able to get back on their feet. However rather than its demise, we are actually seeing the restructuring of the high street. Like any restructuring process, there are always casualties. To survive and indeed thrive in retail it is a constant process of change and innovation. A quick scan of this year’s Top 100 reveals there is more to our local retail sector than the losses that hit the headlines. Delve a little deeper and you will find there is some cause for optimism and that reports of the sector’s demise remain premature. Four of our top 10 biggest employers are retailers meaning that one in every five households is reliant on a wage coming from this sector and jobs are continuing to grow. It’s no exaggeration to say almost every company-listed support, and is supported by, the retail industry. Retail NI can testify to this as we enjoy close relationships with many of the banks and utility companies who have claimed a spot on the top 10 and admire the lengths these companies go to protect our members. But if the picture is to really improve, Retail NI needs more than favourable working arrangements with our suppliers. I won’t be the first person in this publication to highlight that a lack of a devolved government and political uncertainty is adversely affecting Northern Ireland business. Concerned by the plight of retailers, governments across the water have taken

By Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive Retail NI proactive measures to send the sector on the road to recovery. Town Teams, which stemmed from the Portas Review, cannot be extended to Northern Ireland without ministerial approval, despite all evidence suggesting the benefits these teams can have on city regeneration plans. As we celebrate the approval of Business Improvement District (BID) schemes, towns in the rest of the UK have moved on to focus

on Improvement Districts, dubbed the next generation of BIDS, yet it will be years before Northern Ireland can reach this level. In the absence of these tried and tested life support machines, our members are having to find new, creative ways to keep their growth trajectory in the right direction and remain focused on fulfilling their long-term goals, despite the many barriers put in their way. What strikes me most about Retail NI’s

membership base is how willing they are to embrace change. Few sectors have experienced transformation on the same scale in the last 10 years as retail. As technology continues to evolve, so too does the way consumers interact with sellers and as a business owner, if you want to stay afloat you must ride the crest of this change. Northern Ireland has a thriving ecommerce industry and can point to a great many examples of traditional retailers who have now operate on a global scale thanks to the power of the Internet. There are lessons to be learned for businesses across the board from the retail industry. Our retailers have shown how readily they can adapt to change and how being malleable is crucial to survival. What’s more, the resilient nature of retail is an admirable quality other business should seek to replicate. With the unprecedented challenges facing businesses and uncertainty continuing to mount, it’s clear that all companies, regardless of sector, can no longer relay on the status quo if they are to stay ahead. And if they can embrace change and new trends with the same vivacity as our retailers, then I’m confidant Northern Ireland plc will continue to prosper. In 2019 we are seeing the creation of more confident and dynamic independent retailers, who will be at the cutting edge of a new retail sector, leading toward 21st century town high streets. These are retailer entrepreneurs who are innovators and trendsetters. Consumer behaviour is rapidly changing and people want something different from their high streets and I believe that smaller, more agile and tech-savvy retailers who can adapt to this tidal wave of change will be the ones who will not just survive, but thrive. The companies listed in this year’s Top 100 deserve to be congratulated on their achievements and should take time to celebrate rewards that have been reaped through hard work. That said, they must also continue to press ahead and strive for even greater things in the months and years ahead. Retail NI wants to see a revival of Northern Ireland’s towns and cities and is working hard to deliver more experiential town centres. This means shops, hospitality, healthcare and residential services co-existing side by side, creating 21st century high streets. But we need assistance from our counterparts across all sectors to fulfil this goal. To drive opportunity, we need a collaborative approach and while this may seem like a daunting challenge, the Top 100 lists proves that our local businesses have the skills and know-how needed to deliver a retail industry in Northern Ireland that is streets ahead.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

1-25 Name

Main Activity

No. employees

Retailing

9,871

247

Poultry processor

4,918

325

Retailing

4,111

200

Aerospace

4,069

-709

Nursing Homes

3,440

-399

Change on previous year

1

Tesco

2

Moy Park

3

Asda

4

Bombardier Shorts

5

Four Seasons

6

John Henderson

Retailing

3,035

262

7

Teleperformance

Call Centres

2,873

46

8

Noonan services

Support Services

2,839

-761

9

BT(NI)

Telecoms

2,701

172

10 Marks and Spencer

Retailing

2,667

200

11 J.Sainsbury

Retailing

2,468

-109

Pharmaceuticals

2,411

262

Retailing

2,207

50

14 Convergys

Call Centre

2,184

-85

15 Allstate NI

ICT

2,157

-3

16 CitiGroup

Financial services

2,146

299

Bank

2,036

-266

Financial services

1,937

74

Call centre

1,804

198

20 Norbrook Labs

Pharmaceuticals

1,662

-104

21 Wrights Group

Bus Assembly

1,560

-95

22 Golf Holdings

Drinks distributor

1,518

10

23 Danske Bank

Bank

1,515

26

24 G4S (3 cos.)

Support services

1,450

89

Engineering

1,431

26

12 Almac (7 cos.) 13 Boots

17 Ulster bank 18 Lloyds banking 19 First Source

25 Schrader Electronics


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

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26-50 Main Activity

No. employees

Engineering

1,366

-300

Financial services

1,364

38

IT equipment

1,336

15

Electricity supply

1,288

35

Engineering

1,264

57

Financial services

1,245

-32

Retailing

1,182

249

Support services

1,160

-71

Call centre

1,151

-396

Construction

1,112

12

36 Primark

Retailing

1,094

30

37 Dunnes Stores

Retailing

1.057

-66

38 Next

Retailing

1,005

-246

Vehicle Distributor

976

16

Retailing

975

87

Distribution

969

-40

42 Iceland Foods

Retailing

950

70

43 McDonalds

Fast Food

938

131

Bank

937

-59

45 Randox

Pharmaceuticals

934

95

46 Dunbia

Meat processor

931

-436

47 Karro Food

Meat processor

926

32

Catering services

892

-114

Construction

874

-34

Food processor

811

36

Name 26 Caterpillar (NI) 27 PWC 28 Seagate Technology 29 N.I.E.Networks 30 Terex (2 cos.) 31 Santander 32 Musgrave Gp (2 cos.) 33 Robinson services 34 Concentrix 35 Graham Holdings

39 Charles Hurst 40 B&M 41 Morris TJ

44 Bank of Ireland

48 Mount Charles 49 Northstone 50 Linden Foods

Change on previous year


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 TOURISM 

Tourism’s road to revenues of £2bn needs to begin now Joanne Stuart, Chief Executive NI Tourism Alliance

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ourism is an exciting and dynamic industry which is one of the success stories in Northern Ireland. Although starting from a low base, tourism has continued to grow and following a record breaking 2017, it is estimated that in 2018, tourism generated £1bn in revenues and employed almost 65,000 people, or 8.7% of total jobs in NI. Over 70% of revenue was generated from visitors from outside of NI, meaning that tourism brought in approximately £700m in additional revenues to the economy. What is not so well known is the wider impact of tourism across our society. It supports a number of other sectors within the economy including transport, local food and drink producers, retail, artisan craft, construction, heritage, cultural and arts sectors. Local communities benefit through the development of tourism products and services, and it supports entrepreneurship and innovation, enabling local people to develop their own tourism businesses, building on their passions, culture and talents. NI Tourism Alliance (NITA) is the single representative body for the tourism and hospitality industry in Northern Ireland. Established in 2018, our role is to ensure the voice of industry is listened to, to shape the future growth of tourism and lobby at all levels of government and beyond to raise awareness of and contributing to the solution of major strategic issues affecting the industry. In NI we have world class, high quality tourism products that incorporate our landscapes, heritage and culture that en-

The Titanic Belfast building is a world class tourist attraction able visitors to have a personal, authentic and quality experience. Tourism also builds on the success of other sectors to create tourism experiences in areas such as food and drink, golf and screen/film. Through this a different narrative has been developed for Northern Ireland and this enables us to attract global events such as The Open which in turn generates more interest and reasons to visit NI. But tourism is not just about leisure and

recreation. Business tourism is a growing sector which brings in business travellers and plays a role to encourage more inward investment and the consideration of NI as an excellent location for business as well as delegates returning for a holiday. Tourism NI have set a challenging and ambitious target to double the impact of tourism by 2030. An industry that will generate £2bn in revenues, with almost £1.5bn of revenues coming from outside of NI, an industry that will employ 90,000

people supporting growth across the wider economy, an industry that provides opportunities for all in our society across the whole of the region, an industry that provides opportunities for local people to develop their own tourism businesses, as well as providing flexible pathways for careers. To drive this growth across NI, investment is required to develop world class products, services and attractions. In recent years there has been significant investment, both from government and the private sector, in attractions such as Titanic Belfast and The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, both of which have shown the positive impact world class and authentic products can have in attracting visitors. Titanic Belfast has welcomed almost 6 million visitors since it opened in 2012 and in 2017 visitors to the Giant’s Causeway exceeded 1 million. Following an investment of £22m, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens opened


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

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Simon Dougan, Yellow Door (left) and Barry Smyth (right) show off some of the produce served at Hillsborough Castle Café and Stable Yard Tea Room. They are joined by Gina George, Historic Royal Palaces retail director. The castle has been turned into a tourist attraction

The Giant’s Causeway (above) and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (left) are just two of the many popular attractions which bring thousands of visitors to the north coast every year approved in March, create the hooks that attract visitors and encourage them to travel around NI, and leverage investment by the private sector in product and service development. One example is the significant into the public in April vestment by the with 200,000 visihotel sector, a numtors expected before ber of which are inthe end of the year. cluded in the Top The success of the 100. With £500m HBO series Game of investment since Thrones has and con2016, today we have tinues to attract visi142 registered hotels tors across the region and 9,300 rooms. visiting the different This is estimated film locations in NI. to rise to 151 hoThe Linen Mill tels providing over Studios in Banbridge 10,000 rooms by will be the location 2020. for the new Game of But there are maThrones studio tour, jor challenges facing a world class attractourism. tion that will open in There has been no spring 2020 and will One of six Game of Thrones stained-glass encompassing tourbring hundreds of windows installed to celebrate its final season ism strategy in place thousands new visifor over a decade, and with the collapse of the NI Executive tors into the area as well as creating jobs. All of these investments, including the in 2017, there has been a lack of political plans within the Belfast Region City deal, focus. This has meant decreasing budgets,

The Throne Room at Hillsborough Castle outdated legislation in areas such as liquor licensing, regulation and certification, and no plan to tackle the increasing challenges around skills. To maximise the opportunity and address the challenges, it is vital that government, in the absence of a NI Executive, develop a strategy for tourism in NI, in collaboration with industry. This needs to include a properly funded, resourced and accountable implementation plan to support the development and growth of the industry. Tourism is competitive and a relatively price-sensitive sector. NI is adversely impacted by the lower rates of VAT and zero Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the Republic. Due to APD and limited international routes flying direct to NI, an increasing number of visitors come through Dublin. Our airports must be supported to develop additional direct routes, particularly from our growth markets. For those arriving in

Dublin it is critical that they are able to continue to access NI in a seamless manner across the border. The increasing number of visitors will require continued investment in our transport infrastructure. This means a joined up approach to infrastructure investment and development of public transport. NI has a population of 1.87 million and we saw 2.26 million visitors come to NI in 2017. If we want to encourage visitors to travel around NI, then this has to be factored into our infrastructure and transport planning. Tourism is an industry that can be transformational for Northern Ireland both economically and socially. It helps to change the narrative and perceptions of NI, it builds confidence and pride within our communities, supports local businesses, protects culture and heritage. The benefits of improved infrastructure touch everybody, creating a better place to live, work and play.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 ANALYSIS  The achievements of manufacturers in the Top 100 are all the more impressive given Brexit backdrop

“Overall, the cumulative impact from a ‘no deal’ scenario is expected to be more severe in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain, and to last for longer.” …there is an expectation of disruption to closely interwoven supply chains and increasing costs that would affect the viability of many businesses across Northern Ireland... This could result in business failure, and/or relocation to Ireland with knock-on consequences for the Northern Ireland economy and unemployment.”

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stark warning is given above from the paper published by the UK Government in February, Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Exit on March 29 2019. Against that backdrop, the existential threat posed by a potential no deal Brexit, it is all the more extraordinary that Northern Ireland’s manufacturing firms have continued to create more wealth and work as demonstrated in the Belfast Telegraph’s Top 100 report. All of Northern Ireland’s business, trade and agricultural bodies, the unions and indeed community and voluntary sector agree that ‘no deal’ is not an option. It is why we have united as never before to ensure that those taking decisions about

BY NECESSITY, ALL BUSINESSES FOCUS ON PRAGMATISM AND NOT POLITICS. STAFF AND SUPPLIERS NEED TO BE PAID NO MATTER WHAT ELSE HAPPENS. BUT AS WELL AS A BREXIT DEAL, WE NEED TO SEE AN EXECUTIVE BACK. THEYTOO NEED TO GET STUFF DONE

Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI how the UK leaves the EU have heard our collective voice. We’ve met them all. Walked through every door, even kicked a few doors in to make sure we were listened to and not just spoken at. Business, by necessity, focuses on the practicalities rather than the politics. A pragmatic approach driven by the reality of having to pay wages and suppliers. A new trade, veterinary and customs relationship cannot be agreed until the UK leaves the EU. But to get there, a Withdrawal Agreement is required. If the cost is the comfort of the ‘backstop’ in order secure the transition period for the whole of the UK and for these negotiations to continue to the next, more productive phase then we believe that is acceptable and workable. For instance, alongside colleagues in retail and logistics, we have calculated that only nine loads per day would require checking on ferries between Great Britain and NI – that’s just one vehicle for every three ferry sailings. Indeed, as many loads go unaccompanied, it means just four drivers would be stopped daily. Any issues or gaps in the agreement are not insurmountable.

The costs of Brexit will be borne by our manufacturing community through managing migration, origin certification, customs costs and delays and potentially tariffs and non-tariff barriers. HMRC estimate that would add £16bn per year, every year, to UK firms. For NI, this is an estimated £300-£400m per year, that is around 20% of profits from the local sector. With added costs and complexity coming hurtling at us, our manufacturers in NI and across the UK need a deal to remain competitive. No deal is simply not an option. But it’s not all about Brexit. The absence of decision making from an Executive and scrutiny in the Chamber and Committee Rooms at Stormont are biting too. The infrastructure project pool, which our construction materials manufacturers rely on, is drying up — roads projects, schools, stadia are delayed or stalled needing political intervention or impetus to get them over the line. Our energy policy is outdated and increasingly irrelevant. Of particular concern is a lack of scrutiny for major changes in the energy market at a time where power prices

are now back to the second most expensive in Europe. Decisions are being made but the only accountability is visible on the hefty bills our members see each month. Firms can’t get the labour or skills they need to meet the success they have in sales. They are taxed for apprenticeships but see none of their money unlike their competitors or indeed their sister factories in Great Britain. More generally we need an industrial strategy to guide the Departments and their agencies particularly as money for supporting new investments, skills development and market development is reducing as pressures come on the Block Grant. The economy has moved on and other locations are moving with it but we’re stuck with plans on the drafting table. Employment levels in manufacturing have recovered to 2009 levels, sales are up and exports increased. Our firms have proven to be more than capable of making great progress when the winds of fortune are blowing in their favour. But those winds are beginning to change direction. In these days of great uncertainty, it has never been more important to have great leaders. People of with clarity, wisdom and determination. Those who can confidently make timely decisions, focussed on the things within their control that matter and with the strength of character to bring people with them. We have those in our great manufacturing community. They make stuff, sell stuff and get stuff done. Quite simply, we need our leaders back in position in Stormont. And, as we did with the Brexit challenge, the business community will be there to offer support and ideas. We are prepared to help create and protect the space the parties need to not only rebuild relationships with each other but to get stuff done.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 ANALYSIS 

Angel investment

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hroughout the world, local knowledge economies tend to generate high wages, high levels of skill and high productivity. They attract investment, raise standards in technical education and training, and deliver economic growth driven by innovation. That’s a quote from the most recent Knowledge Economy Report commissioned by Catalyst Inc and produced by the Ulster University economic policy unit. Our knowledge economy is intimately linked to the broader economy. It doesn’t just reward those with advanced skills who work directly in it. It provides benefits to Northern Ireland as a whole. It generates significant indirect, downstream benefits for the service sector, in retail, transport and infrastructure. An important element of the knowledge economy is the role played by young technology companies – the type of companies that Silicon Valley was built on and who typically rely on venture capital or angel finance in the early stages. Oxford Economics analysis identified 15,000 angel-backed businesses over five years to 2015, which had turnover of £9bn, contributed £4.5bn to GDP and created 69,700 full-time equivalent jobs in the UK economy. The entrepreneurs of young start-up companies here in NI rarely lack vision, drive nor courage. More often they lack the funds needed to achieve meaningful market penetration through cash generated from their own sales. Having exhausted family and friends, start-ups seeking in the region of £50,000 through to £500,000 can struggle as often they don’t quite fit the criteria of some of local investment funds such as those operated by Clarendon Fund Managers, Crescent Capital, Kernel or TechStartNI. This early stage of funding is exactly where angel investors like to invest. The classic definition of a business angel is a high net

By Bryan Keating, Chairman of HBAN’s Northern Ireland Syndicate worth individual who provides finance up to this £500,000 level. Angels usually contribute much more than pure cash – they often have industry knowledge and contacts that they pass on to entrepreneurs and will often also take non-executive board positions in the companies. According to the UK British Angels Association 2018 report, across the UK 69% of angels invested in between one and five companies in the previous financial year, with a median number of two investments. Only 9% made no investments over this period but had invested in the previous two years,

while a small group (7%) made more than 10 investments. In total the 643 investors listed made more than 2,500 investments, although the total number of businesses receiving investment is unclear as many investors work together in syndicates. With the recent formation and growth of angel syndicates, equity from business angels is becoming more and more important to the equity capital industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In the stage of development of new ventures where angels come in, the risk of failure is significant; many aspects of the business

Haircare company We are Paradoxx recently received angel investment. Company founder Yolanda Cooper (right) celebrated with Jim Curran and Claudine Owens from HBAN

including customer relationships, pricing strategy, talent, and other key factors are quite unclear. Yet there are a growing number of investors willing to invest at this point. Being an angel is risky and market research has shown that 58% of angel deals may not return the original stake money. However, the way to mitigate the risk and increase the odds of good returns is through developing a diverse portfolio of investments and taking reasonable steps to carry out due diligence. HBAN is the all-island umbrella group responsible for the development of business angel syndicates and supporting the early stage entrepreneurial community on the island of Ireland. Evolution has seen syndicates investing with other Irish syndicates and more recently alongside international syndicates. We see this model having enormous potential for growing access to international funds and international markets The well-established HBAN angel network – which is closing 45+ deals a year - is now established in Northern Ireland. HBAN will support the creation of a sustainable and driven investor syndicate and forum that will support early stage and scaling companies. The local HBAN team will source high quality deal flow and match this with active and engaged angel investors. Being in the position to be a business angel is a real privilege which is not available to everyone. The risks are high, but the financial rewards can be tangible and if the angel picks a company with a team they can really relate to, there can be a great emotional upside to being with people you admire to do well. It’s rarely a smooth ride but being a business angel is definitely never dull.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 RECRUITMENT 

Is NI headed for a skills Brexodus?

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escribedasthemass exit of individuals, particularly EU nationals, and corporations from the UK, there’s no doubt ‘Brexodus’ has the potential to cause major disruption to the economy if the critics’ fears ring true. As with many of the potential negative outcomes from Brexit, it would seem that due to Northern Ireland’s unique geographic, economic and political status it could have more to lose than most when it comes to a possible Brexit-influenced migration. Some commentators have suggested that the political impasse, the seemingly never-ending Brexit uncertainty and the scaremongering of a hard border will tempt both NI natives and their EU counterparts to relocate south of the border where they can remain part of the EU. Our close proximity to the Republic of Ireland could make this a more appealing and easily-actioned option as workers navigate the ongoing Brexit ambiguity. Of course this skills retention problem is nothing new. Northern Ireland has been here before with the well-documented brain drain — the phenomenon which was heightened during the Troubles whereby the brightest and best students would leave to study elsewhere and never return. This is a trend which has lessened to varying degrees in the peace years with many returning home when they start a family. Nevertheless, it is still an issue which could return. Reassuringly, at Brightwater a skills Brexodus isn’t something we have seen taking hold in Northern Ireland. Our clients are naturally cautious and have been making any preparations they can. Despite job opportunities and good pay, a move south still has many other factors to take into consideration, such as housing costs, health and education fees and the overall cost of living. And whilst UK cities like London, Manchester and Bristol rate highly among young, skilled professionals, we haven’t noted a significant change in the pattern and volume of migration there. Understandably, Brexit remains high on the agenda for firms and candidates alike as they look ahead to the economic landscape. Whilst uncertainty surrounding business deals and decisions about recruitment may have slowed things somewhat as we approached the original end-of-March deadline, the recurring theme among firms here is a desire to keep going and progressing with their business plans and therefore continued recruitment which helps build confidence in the job market.

Cathal O’Donnell, Regional Director at Brightwater We have also seen many of our clients, particularly in the legal services and manufacturing sectors, significantly invest in Northern Ireland in recent years and they are committed to their teams here and won’t be making knee-jerk reactions based on what-ifs. This progressive and determined mindset is heavily influenced by the high volume of SMEs represented in Northern Ireland’s private sector, who can’t rest on the laurels

of large multi-nationals and quite simply need to get on. With this in mind, it’s important that businesses don’t waste the time afforded by the recent delay and do as much prep as possible. Despite the October 31 extension, there still remains significant uncertainty about the actual outcome of the EU referendum and despite it looking less likely, the risk of no-deal has not been excluded from one of the many possibilities.

The reality is that no-one knows the outcome of this long-debated change or how it will directly or indirectly impact the job market and those in it. In fact, any impact is unlikely to be felt instantly and will take a number of years before the real effect is felt. All we can do is work hard to ensure we have the best possible people for the job at hand and continue to build businesses to retain the great talent here.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

 COMMERCIAL PROPERTY 

Property market to bounce back from uncertainty

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he challenges in the commercial property market have been well-documented. But how has the market actually performed and what can we expect looking forward? The commercial property market and, more specifically, the investment market has, over the last three years, endured a sustained challenge due to Brexit uncertainty and further compounded by our more local issue of the lack of an Executive. Whilst all sectors have been in some way affected, the spotlight remains focussed on retail’s problems. By contrast, the office occupier sector has grown in strength, although it too is not without its challenges. Most recently, we have seen creditors of department store Debenhams back a restructuring plan which will see up to 50 stores close. However, the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which includes rent reductions as well as store closures, has been described by the joint supervisor of the CVA as “an important step forward for Debenhams” which will “preserve as many stores and jobs as possible”. This CVA could be enough to save what is a long-established household name on our high street. The impact of online retail on the high street has been a popular subject of discussion for some time now. However, while it continues to give cause for concern, is that concern still justified or in any way misplaced? It has been shown that online retail growth rose steadily for a number of years before reaching a plateau and many experts believe that it will continue to maintain this level for the foreseeable future. If indeed this is the case, it would suggest that our high streets have endured sustained hits as a result of the rise of internet shopping but, going forward, our high streets and online retail can co-exist. We have also just had long-awaited confirmation that the Department of Finance has announced a fundamental review of business rates, albeit ministerial approval will be needed to bring forward recommendations. This will be the first fundamental and comprehensive review of non-domestic rates in the UK. This could lead to welcome news for small businesses as part of the regeneration of city and town centres across Northern Ireland. Taking a closer look at the investment sector, 2018 proved to be a tough year. At £175m, the total volume of transactions represented a five-year low. However, if the 2017 sale of CastleCourt Shopping Centre (£125m) is removed, the last three years do not look so vastly different and we could easily point to the uncertainty triggered and sustained by Brexit.

By Neil McShane, Founder and Director of commercial property investment consultancy In Prio

A bird’s eye view from River House in Belfast, home of co-working space developed by Clockwise But we should not ignore the impact of Stormont, the global economic changes and the possibility that this is actually part of the cycle of investment. 2019 is off to a reasonable start with more than £100m expected to complete in the first half but, even if these volumes continue for the second half, it is still some way off the post-recession 2014 figure of nearly £500m. Any chance of returning to these heights will need a Brexit deal, and perhaps that is finally on the horizon. Combined with a return to Stormont, we could see the investment market return to a healthier place along with a recovering high street. The buyer trend of ‘flight to quality’ has been sustained through the period of turbulence and we have continued to see strong demand, and indeed prices, for good quality product across all sectors. Furthermore, the sharp yields being achieved in Belfast have led to investors exploring strong provincial towns

in order to deliver more attractive returns. Much has been said about the success of the Belfast office market. Despite the challenging political climate, the Belfast market had a strong take-up of nearly 900,000 sq ft in 2018 which represented a new annual record. The demand from occupiers for Grade A stock accounted for the majority of the annual take-up but this was only possible because of the prior increase in supply. Serviced offices and co-working space has played its part in boosting these figures with Clockwise taking some 30,000 ft2 at River House and with Ormeau Baths doubling its floorspace. The successful take-up in 2018 has inevitably hit the availability and new-builds continued to be driven by, if not reliant on, pre-lets. Quality speculative development is needed in order to satisfy this continued demand. This is evidenced by the recent actions of both Allstate and Kainos. The former had to become a developer to satisfy their space requirement and

the latter recently acquired the Dublin Road Movie House Cinema, the proposed site for a planned development known as Bankmore Square, to build their own offices. While we have endured some tough years, it could be said that many adjustments in the market were needed whether it was the rebasing of retail rental values, repairing of the high street or highlighting the issue with business rates in order to provide relief for small businesses. With a lot of pain taken, a potential Brexit deal in sight and talks re-commenced in order to restore the executive, I expect that many investors will be readying themselves to enter or indeed re-enter the property market. The removal of this uncertainty could substantially unlock the supply shortage and a combination of both could mean more opportunities but at reasonable prices. Maybe it’s too early to be optimistic, but there are good reasons to be getting ready to put commercial property back on the radar.


TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019

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 RECRUITMENT

How top companies are now having to work harder to draw and retain the best talent

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ttracting and retaining the best talent is a challenge many organisations face. In recent years, commercial businesses of all sizes have considered in detail the question of employee reward when it comes to two business critical issues, recruitment and retention. With latest official figures showing local unemployment rates at a record low this year, new research reveals that Northern Ireland companies are increasingly providing compelling working packages to secure the staff they need to succeed both locally and internationally. The annual NI Salary Survey Report carried out by Abacus Careers, part of the Abacus Talent Group, surveyed over 1,000 professionals across five sectors covering 20 segments and 60 specific job titles. There has been an influx of global firms to Northern Ireland and an increase in local companies exporting their services outside their home market. This external focus presents an additional need to adapt employment models to meet the demands of delivering

Abacus Careers Managing Director, Stuart John international services to different time zones around the globe. Many employers seek to retain staff by offering a competitive salary, but while salary still plays a role in attracting talent, it doesn’t necessarily keep employees around. The research shows that many forward-thinking businesses are embracing other forms of employee reward to assist with staff retention and are delivering increasingly competitive workplace packages, with an increased focus on work-life balance, flexible working, bonuses and personal development. Approximately 52% of professionals now avail of flexible working in NI, an increase of 9% from last year. The legal sector is leading in this area with an average of over 60% working flexibly and includes working from home, flexible start and finish times and time in-lieu. The results are a significant improvement from the

previous year’s results where the sector was averaging at 48%. Sales support roles were least likely to include flexible working at 24%. Recruiting and retaining employees can be a tricky task and it can be even more challenging for SMEs who don’t have the same resources larger organisations have at their disposal. Being a smaller fish in the pond, however, isn’t always a bad thing and although a challenge, smaller firms can stand out when competing for top talent by adapting a ‘common-sense’ approach. We find that businesses that can offer flexible solutions to suit all parties will also be well-positioned when it comes to their employer brand and retaining a steady workforce. Despite a climate of political and economic uncertainty, from dealing with Brexit and an absent Executive, employees are remaining positive. Bsinesses should be aware that

expectations for increases in basic pay are up among employees. Approximately 76% of female and 75% of male respondents surveyed expect a salary increase in the year ahead — a 9% and 4% increase respectively on last year. Expectations were particularly high among those working in the legal sector, with 91% of males and 93% of females expecting a rise. With salaries being a major element of core costs, this news may concern business leaders who are keen to protect profit margins, however, we should take this news in context. In the last five years basic pay increases have been low and, in some cases, negative. The market is returning to a normal phase and indeed, the recent announcement by the Bank of England warning of more frequent interest rate rises in the future suggests they predict the economy to perform better than expected in the short term.


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TOP 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019


Profile for Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland’s Top 100 Companies 2019  

Northern Ireland's most profitable companies are revealed.

Northern Ireland’s Top 100 Companies 2019  

Northern Ireland's most profitable companies are revealed.

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