Belfast Telegraph

Three Craigavon firms have landed major awards as part of an all-Ireland competition

Craigavon companies carry off awards at all-Ireland competition

By Clare Weir

Three Craigavon firms have landed major awards as part of an all-Ireland competition.

Pharma firm Almac was named overall winner in this year's Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards at the final at the Mansion House in Dublin, the fourth successive Northern Ireland company to pick up the top accolade.

The awards are run in association with Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland, the Belfast Telegraph and

The companies were judged on financial performance, company milestones and achievements, future strategy and the development of new products and services.

Two other Craigavon-headquartered companies also picked up awards in the ceremony ahead of a record entry from all over Ireland.

Avondale Foods was the all-island winner of the Food and Drink Award while Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park, won a Judges' Special Recognition Award for her achievements. The judges noted Almac's success in drug discovery, cancer diagnostics, research and development, and support of global clinical trials.

The firm employs more than 3,500 staff worldwide and with a turnover of £350m, the Almac Group was described as "truly a global leader in its field".

Doug Cookson, vice president of corporate marketing at Almac Group, said that the firm had triumphed over other "outstanding companies" from all over Ireland.

"This is a fantastic recognition of the hard work by all our global teams and dedicated employees, without whom this success would not be possible," he said.

"Huge congratulations to everyone at Almac on making winning this coveted award possible - it is a true honour for all of us."

Almac will receive a comprehensive prize package including a £40,000 publishing bursary with the Belfast Telegraph or Irish Independent and business mentoring from Enterprise Ireland.

In August the company and Invest Northern Ireland announced an investment of £54m over the next five years which will expand its Northern Ireland workforce by 15%, creating 350 jobs.

Last year the company opened hubs in Asia and the Pacific, and new packaging facilities will open in Singapore in the next few months.

Ellvena Graham, head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, said that the awards recognised and rewarded great innovation.

"The calibre of entries we have seen this year was excellent, from those across the technology, environmental and service industry sectors to those that promote the island's world-class agriculture and food industries," she said.

"Ulster has traditionally punched above its weight in these awards and it's great news that Almac is keeping the title of Overall Business Achiever in the region for another year."

Belfast Telegraph