Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland firms see 20% rise in profit, says our analysis of Top 100

By Margaret Canning

The Belfast Telegraph Top 100 magazine, in association with Arthur Cox, will tomorrow reveal rising pre-tax profits among Northern Ireland's top private sector firms.

The chart, which is compiled by economist John Simpson, showcases the most successful companies in the province.

Published free with the Belfast Telegraph tomorrow, the prestigious, 64-page glossy magazine showcases companies, many of which are family run, on the rise through organic growth and acquisitions.

It's also the fourth year in a row in which the Top 100 has been supported by market-leading corporate law firm Arthur Cox.

Family companies which this year continue a trend of dominating the list include trader W&R Barnett, which reveals the acquisitions of The Boxshop Limited in East Kilbride, Scotland and Argos Feed Group Zrt. in Hungary.

And Norbrook Holdings in Newry, the highest-placed family company on the list - this time specialising in veterinary pharmaceutical products - ascribes its improved profits, which are up from £105m to £118m, in part due to new products, including chewable tablets for dogs.

And this year, the threshold for inclusion into the Top 100 has increased from £3m to £4m.

Other products from Northern Ireland which are playing a considerable part in generating pre-tax profits for the companies on the list include Bombardier's C Series passenger jet - the wings of which are made in Belfast - soft drink Shloer from SHS Group, buses from Wrights Group in Ballymena and pre-cast concrete from FP McCann in Magherafelt.

Writing in the magazine, Professor Simpson said the Top 100 "make a considerable contribution to the success of the Northern Ireland economy".

He said the average level of pre-tax profits per business was over 20% higher than a year ago.

"The results of the analysis of the Top 100 offer a picture of the better performers in a much more buoyant private sector."

Mr Simpson, who has been compiling the Top 100 for around 15 years, said this year's table showed a pattern of improvements across the complete range of businesses.

He added: "Perhaps the most notable feature of an analysis of profitability is that 48 of the 100 businesses reported an improvement of over 20% in their pre-tax profits."

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of economic development agency Invest NI - who has provided the foreword to the publication - writes:

"I congratulate all those businesses that appear in the Belfast Telegraph Top 100, in particular those that are listed for the first time. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of our smaller businesses.

"Every business in Northern Ireland, regardless of its size, plays a vital role in our economy.

"An entrepreneur today has the potential to be a large employer of the future."

Kieran McGarrigle, finance partner at law firm Arthur Cox, sponsor of the publication, said: "Operating at the very heart of the Northern Ireland economy, Arthur Cox is privileged to work closely with many of the region's most successful businesses.

"We are therefore delighted to continue our partnership with the Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies and look forward to joining them tomorrow when the 2018 list is revealed in full."

Belfast Telegraph

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