Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland top 100 companies: Belfast Telegraph guide to top-profit makers, employers and business people

Ambition of top firms comes in for high praise

By Margaret Canning, Business Editor

Northern Ireland’s top profit-making companies have shown tenacity and ambition to make it into today’s Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies, one of the province’s most high-profile business leaders has said.

The magazine, published in association with law firm Arthur Cox, charts a dizzying range of successes from Danske Bank at number one with profits of £117m, to Lough Erne Investments — the owner of a company which makes cooked egg products — which came in at number 100 with pre-tax profits of £3.3m.

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Catriona Gibson, managing partner of Arthur Cox, said it was “extremely proud” to continue its support of the Belfast Telegraph’s Top 100 Companies. And Kevin Kingston, chief executive of Danske Bank, said the bank was “delighted” to retain the top for the third year in a row.

“Hopefully it acts as a strong message to the marketplace that Danske Bank is continuing to support the Northern Ireland economy and, most importantly, the ambitions of our customers.

“We recorded a strong financial performance in 2016 despite significant change in the external environment, slower growth in the local economy and the first Bank of England rate change in seven years. There is no doubt that in Northern Ireland the business community finds itself in a more uncertain environment than we have been in for some time, but the worst thing that we as a business community could do is to stifle our ambitions for progress and growth.”

Writing in the magazine, Angela McGowan, regional director of the CBI, said: “There is little doubt that this year’s celebration of our Top 100 companies is a true testament to the tenacity and ambition of the Northern Ireland business community.

“Companies from right across the industrial spectrum are represented — from financial firms to pharmaceutical companies... each and every company is a reflection of Northern Ireland at its best.”

But she said that for future growth, businesses needed reassurance that their interests would be protected in Brexit negotiations.  “Local businesses are eager for the UK-EU talks to get off to a good start because that will be vital to securing stability and a deal that delivers for both sides...  the next year of negotiations will be crucial for Northern Ireland’s future prosperity and to the future of these Top 100 firms.”

Catriona Gibson added: “We are extremely proud to continue our ongoing partnership with the Belfast Telegraph for a business commentary that demonstrates the effort and strategic foresight being displayed by our highest-performing companies.

“As adviser to many of the Top 100 firms, we are fully aware of the drive and hard work of Northern Ireland business leaders as they continue in their pursuit of excellence.

“The Top 100 is a welcome opportunity to take an objective look at the performances of Northern Ireland’s most successful businesses.

“This year, perhaps more than others, the publication of the league table serves as a reminder of the depth and breadth of talent in the Northern Ireland corporate world, set as it is against a wider backdrop of economic uncertainty.

“It is very pleasing to see that the list once again showcases a blend of indigenous firms and multinational companies that have chosen to set up in the region. This illustrates the historic and continued attractiveness of Northern Ireland to foreign direct investors, as well as the talent of home-grown entrepreneurs - both of which are hallmarks of a successful economy.

“On behalf of Arthur Cox, I would like to strongly commend and congratulate every company included in the Top 100. To the significant number of other growing businesses striving to make the list, we’ll hopefully see your name in there next year.” 

Ms McGowan, Mr Kingston and Ms Gibson will this morning address a business breakfast with guests including leaders of many of the Top 100 companies where the publication was launched.

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