Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s top firm
Poultry giant heads Belfast Telegraph’s 100 companies
Food processing giant Moy Park has topped the list of the Belfast Telegraph’s Top 100 companies in Northern Ireland.
The Co Armagh firm is one of Europe’s leading poultry companies and saw off stiff competition from last year’s winner Tesco.
The retailer was knocked off the top spot but remains at number two on the list — free in today’s Belfast Telegraph — compiled by economist John Simpson.
Moy Park had been snapping at Tesco’s heels after taking the second place last year.
The firm’s purchase of Ballymena-based O’Kane Poultry earlier this year, making Northern Ireland the home of the biggest poultry firm in the UK, and its rapid expansion into Europe, have been credited for its pole position.
Moy Park employs more than 10,500 people over 12 main production sites in Northern Ireland, England, France and the Netherlands, but controls all operations from its Craigavon headquarters.
Around 2,000 staff are based in Northern Ireland.
Moy Park has been part of the Brazil-based Marfrig Group since 2008.
The company is one of two in the food sector in the top 10 — the other being Dunbia, formerly Dungannon Meats — proving industry predictions that food and
drink could eclipse the once-powerful manufacturing sector.
A report issued late last year predicted that the food and drink industry could bring in £4.5bn a year and sustain up to 107,000 jobs here.
The research by management consultancy Goldblatt McGuigan for the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) said the industry could also grow sales by 40% over the next 10 years.
It claims that despite the recession, the food and drink industry grew by 3.3% in 2009.
Moy Park managing director Nigel Dunlop said that Marfrig has provided the company with a global perspective.
He added: “Moy Park continues to operate as a stand-alone business within the wider Marfrig Group and has continued to expand and develop our fresh, high quality, locally farmed fresh poultry business.
“We continue to invest positively in growing this absolutely core part of our business both in Northern Ireland and in England.”
Other food and drink sector entries in the Top 100 companies list include Diageo, Coca-Cola, Foyle Food Group, Fane Valley Co-Op, Manderly Food Group, United Dairy Farmers, Hilton Meats and Kerry Group.