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Goods from grain to beef now making Northern Ireland firms high-flyers

By Margaret Canning

Three Northern Ireland businesses have made it on to a chart of the UK's most profitable firms. Meat processor Dunbia in Dunganon, Belfast grain merchant W&R Barnett and retailer and wholesaler Henderson Group in Mallusk all feature on the Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100.

Dunbia in Dungannon - which is tipped to form a joint venture with UK food giant 2 Sisters - is at number 69 with sales of £827m. Family-run W&R Barnett is at 73 with sales of £815m, while Henderson Group is at 91 with sales of £659m.

The companies have combined sales of £2.3bn and profits of £91m in their last financial year, and employ more than 6,700 people.

Dan Howlett, head of corporate banking in the UK at HSBC, said: "At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, we can take real comfort from the dynamic private companies across the UK as recognised by the Top Track 100 league table.

"Firms such as these are fundamental in helping to get Britain back to business during this post-Brexit period of uncertainty and the inevitable challenges ahead.

"These businesses are ambitious, agile and passionate about what they do and will play an important part in helping to drive the British economy forward, domestically and internationally."

Henderson Group is the owner of the Spar franchise in Northern Ireland. It also supplies Spar, Eurospar, Vivo and Vivoxtra franchises, as well as operating 78 of its own stores. It is led by brothers Martin and Geoffrey Agnew.

W&R Barnett was founded in 1896 and it now operates in areas including agri-business and commodity trading.

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