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Northern Ireland’s top 100 companies hit hard by downturn

Published 26/08/2009

Northern Ireland’s top companies have been hit hard by the economic downturn, according to an annual survey.

Research used latest available company accounts, most relating to the 2007 financial year, to paint a picture of the business world in Northern Ireland.

Energy group Viridian, owners of Northern Ireland Electricity, topped the poll once again despite declaring losses of £122m. Quinn Group, founded by Co Fermanagh man Sean Quinn and with interests from cement to hospitality and insurance, was at number two despite significant losses of £259m.

In third place was Glen Electric, followed by Short Bros and FG Wilson, placed fourth and fifth respectively.

Manufacturing remains the largest sector with 38 companies from the sector in this year’s survey, and 19 companies in both the construction and service sectors.

The results, produced by Dun & Bradstreet for Ulster Business magazine, reveal that while the combined turnover of Northern Ireland’s top 100 companies rose to £18.1bn in the 2009 list compared to £15.9bn in 2008, 16% declared a pre-tax loss compared to an average of 9% over the last three years.

Total profit stands at £259.8m, reflecting an overall profit margin of 1.44%, a sharp fall from 5.8% last year.

Jonathan Cushley of Dun & Bradstreet, said: “Our top companies, to their credit, are maintaining high turnover growth but at a significant cost with the reduction in profitability and and shareholders returns at an overall level which potentially endangers future investment.”

Belfast Telegraph

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