Posted on Tuesday 14 August 2018 by Ulster Business

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If you’re a business which has just cracked the £1bn turnover mark, you’re normally on the tip of the most peoples’ tongues.

But while it’s one of Northern Ireland’s biggest companies, W&R Barnett is a giant of industry which goes about its business without shouting about it.

The Belfast-based business, headed by William Barnett, is the holding company in charge of a range of international commodity trading companies, and a leading trader of grain and non-grain animal feed commodities.

The company employs around 1,500 staff, and is also top supplier of bulk liquid storage to the UK food, feed and energy sectors, and boasts

The firm has made a number of acquisitions in the last few years.

William Barnett told Ulster Business the company is “aiming to continue to invest in all our businesses and their people to further increase our productivity, quality and potential for growth”.

Most recently, one of its most recent takeovers was by its subsidiary Logson Group, the UK’s largest independent supplier of corrugated packaging, after it announced the acquisition of the Cardboard Box Company, an independent sheet plant based in, Lancashire.

W&R Barnett entered the corrugated packaging market in 2015 when it took on the Logson business.

In the space of a year, and in part down to the expansion and takeover of the business, W&R Barnett saw its turnover grow from £946.1m to £1.1bn – making it Northern Ireland’s third largest company, and the largest family-owned business here.

According to the company, turnover increased through addition of Logson and an increase in commodity prices, while staff numbers significantly increased by Logson, which now represents the majority of the group’s workforce.

It’s also taken on the Boxshop Limited, based in East Kilbride, in Scotland, while subsidiary United Molasses Group also took on Argos Feed Group Zrt, based in Hungary.

The company has also investing capital expenditure within the “feed trading and feed milling businesses in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to increase port storage capabilities, improve energy self-sufficiency and modernise IT systems”.

And through John Thompson & Sons, W&R Barnett is the largest manufacturer of animal feed in Northern Ireland.

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