Northern Ireland's locally owned businesses reported variable trading results in their most recent trading year. Media headlines were memorable for the unwelcome news from Wrightbus, Bombardier and Harland and Wolff. Those were the conspicuous concerns. However, hundreds of trading companies continued on with their business, with a wide spread of results.
A growing tourism industry is a natural strength for Northern Ireland. The all-island qualities of the environment, an attractive, unspoilt and uncrowded landscape as well as its location on an offshore island, all make Ireland a convenient but unique place to attract large numbers of tourists.
Balcas Timber is a wholly owned subsidiary of Balcas, the Fermanagh based parent company. In 2015, the then largest Balcas shareholder, The Dutch Clean Energy Company B.V. converted a shareholder loan into equity and, as a result, the ultimate control of the group passed to a Dutch company, SHV Holdings N.V.
Legally, the departure from the EU has happened. Initially, in a period of transition, revised operational decisions must be made. In the next year government and business managers will be busy adjusting to the new environment.
For too long, we were guilty of hoping that Brexit could be avoided. Now it is happening, the transition will start and the full rigour of leaving the EU will soon become a living experience. The amended UK-EU withdrawal agreement, negotiated by Boris Johnson, is nearly in place.
The general election is over. New government arrangements at Westminster are under way to allow normal decision making. That 'normality' still leaves Northern Ireland without a devolved Government and an unsatisfactory gap in decision making for the health and social services.
The British election comes at a time when the prospects for the NI economy are less optimistic than we would like. The uncertain Brexit decision-making, together with the postponed departure from the EU at least until the end of January 2020, is affecting inward investment and consumer spending.
Northern Ireland, as these words are being written, has shaped the Brexit headlines. The changed customs and regulatory alignment arrangements contained in the Withdrawal Agreement agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week would bring a new complex baseline for decision making.
Charles Hurst Ltd is the largest local subsidiary of the Lookers plc group. It includes a number of subsidiaries in Northern Ireland, including financing companies, involved in the motor trade. Formally the local company is linked to Lookers through Charles Hurst Holdings Ltd.
In its most recent financial year to March 2019, Translink did not quite balance the books. In the conventional accounts, Translink earned £238m and after deduction of expenditure showed a trading loss of £19.5m. Balance sheet financial reserves fell by £30m.
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