Belfast Telegraph

Two Northern Ireland firms on top 100 list for fastest-growing profits

By Andrew Madden

Two local companies have been featured on a league table of UK firms with the fastest-growing profits.

Published this weekend, the 19th annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 league table ranks private enterprises over a three-year period.

Making it on to the list this year are steel company Walter Watson and fit-out specialists MJM Group, both from Co Down.

Four Northern Ireland companies made the list last year.

The firms, which employ 460 staff, achieved combined profits of £13m.

Castlewellan-based Walter Watson debuts on the list in sixth place.

Established in 1967, the family-owned fabricating business designs, manufactures and distributes structural and reinforcing steelwork for the construction industry.

It also makes overhead cranes and agricultural equipment, such as rollers, aerators and animal feeders.

Profits grew by an average of 125% a year to £6.2m in 2016.

It is a second appearance on the league table for Newry-based MJM Group.

Started in 1983 by Brian McConville, the specialist joiner has completed fit-outs across five continents for clients such as Royal Caribbean, P&O and Carnival.

Other customers include ferry companies, super-yacht owners and land-based clients like luxury hotels.

It grew profits by an average of 65% a year to £7.1m in 2016.

The companies appear with businesses from around the UK, including domestic appliance designer Gtech, sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger and gym operator PureGym.

Despite cost pressures caused in part by a fall in the value of sterling, all 100 companies listed increased sales, and average profit margins rose from 8% to 15%.

The league table and awards programme is sponsored by BDO and UBS Wealth Management, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Brian Murphy, Northern Ireland managing partner at BDO, the title sponsor of the league table, said the "high-growth, high-energy and highly-entrepreneurial" companies will be the difference between success and failure in our "post-Brexit economic future".

"We'd like to see the Government do more to help them by focusing on skills, infrastructure investment and tax simplification," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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