Posted on Tuesday 20 August 2013 by Ulster Business

Top 100 Launch

Launching the Northern Ireland Top 100 Companies 2013 edition of Ulster Business are  Robin Johnston, Enterprise and Commercial Manager from Blackberry, Nigel Dunlop, CEO of Moy Park and James Greer, publisher of Ulster Business

The sales performance of Northern Ireland's Top 100 companies has defied the economic gloom over the past year, according to figures published today in Ulster Business. 

The annual survey, now in its 25th year, provides a snapshot of the Northern Ireland economy from the latest available company accounts – most relating to the 2011/12 financial year - filed at Companies House.

The results, produced by Dun & Bradstreet for Ulster Business, reveal that the combined turnover of Northern Ireland's Top 100 companies rose to £21.1bn in the 2013 list from £19.1bn for the same companies in 2012 – the first time the Top 100 have registered sales of more than £20bn.

The 10.4% collective rise in sales continued the trend seen last year, when the top 100 companies delivered a 12% increase in turnover.

Poultry processor Moy Park topped the survey for the second year running after registering sales figures of £1.09bn and profits of £24.4m. A number of other well known companies posted higher turnover, including, Henderson Group (+6.3%), Bombardier Shorts (+7.8%), Ballyvesey Holdings (30%) and United Dairy Farmers (+9.3%).

Reflecting the ongoing pressure on our leading businesses, figures showed 10 of the 100 companies made a pre-tax loss. Overall profitability was also squeezed, with the Top 100's profit margin slipping to 3% from 4% last year.

Symon Ross, editor of Ulster Business said:

"The figures on which the Top 100 list is based provide some cause for optimism as they show many of our largest business have succeeded in increasing their sales in difficult economic circumstances. However, in many cases profits haven't moved in the same direction at the same pace, and ongoing global headwinds mean profit margins are likely to remain squeezed.

"That said, in this the 25th anniversary of the Top 100 listing, we should not overlook the successes and innovation demonstrated by our large companies, particularly those who are thriving in export markets."

Companies linked to the agri-food / food & drink sector accounted for 19 places on the listing, while manufacturing contributed 15 companies, the construction sector 15 firms and another 18 businesses were related to energy/utilities.

Jonathan Cushley of Dun & Bradstreet, which carried out the survey on behalf of Ulster Business, said:

"The 25th compilation of the Ulster Business Top 100 listing provides a continued positive view of the year on year performance of the province's top businesses. For the first time turnover for the leading companies has broken through the £20bn mark and whilst profitability has tightened, the value of the companies to their shareholders continues to rise significantly.

"It should also be noted that only 10 of the 100 companies posted losses, an improvement on the 18 who reported losses in the 24th edition of the Top 100 last year."

One business aiming to continue its export success is number one company Moy Park.

Its CEO, Nigel Dunlop, said:

"To be named as number one company in Ulster Business' Top 100 for the second time is a great accolade for everyone in the business. Moy Park is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and we remain committed to growing our business both within and from Northern Ireland. Moy Park delivered a strong trading performance in 2012 and despite a backdrop of still challenging markets, we look forward to the future with continued confidence"

"It is great to see agri-food businesses listed so prominently in the Top 100 demonstrating the importance of this sector to the local economy."

James Greer, publisher of Ulster Business added: "The Top 100 is now in its 25th year and is still providing an excellent insight into the performance of Northern Ireland's top companies. Once again, Dun & Bradstreet have done an excellent job in compiling the figures and we are also very grateful to the companies in the list for their co-operation."


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