Posted on Friday 15 September 2017 by Ulster Business

Brokenshire tells business leaders to help break stormont deadlock

Julian Yarr, Managing partner at A&L Goodbody; Richard McClean, Managing Director of INM NI, Janet McCollum, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland's biggest company Moy Park, Secretary of State James Brokenshire MP, Mark Thompson, Head of A&L Goodbody's Belfast office; David Elliott, Editor of Ulster Business.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has told the leaders of Northern Ireland’s biggest businesses to do all they can to help break the political deadlock at Stormont.

Speaking at the Ulster Business Top 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2017 Gala Dinner in Queens University's Great Hall, in partnership with A&L Goodbody, he said the business world needs to impress on local politicians how important a deal is for the future of the economy.

“We all want to see the parties come together and form an Executive,” he said. “They need to hear from you just how important it is for to you to see them working together for the good of Northern Ireland.”

If a deal can’t be reached, the Secretary of State said Northern Ireland is on a "glide path" toward greater UK intervention without a political deal.

But he said that path can be avoided.

"This can be achieved with political leadership and with support of the people of Northern Ireland - including communities and businesses."

He said passing a budget at Westminster for public services in Northern Ireland this year would be profoundly a backward step.

"But in the continuing absence of devolution the UK Government retains ultimate responsibility for good governance and political stability in Northern Ireland as part of the UK - and we will not shirk from the necessary measures to deliver that."

The event celebrated the success of the Top 100 biggest companies in Northern Ireland which managed to shrug off political turmoil and economic uncertainty to post record turnover in the last year.

They saw a jump in revenue of £322m for the collective to an all-time high of £23.3bn.

The list ranks companies by turnover to give an indication of how much they put in to the Northern Ireland economy.

Profit also climbed by 16% to £932.7m from £804m.

The stealer performance shows the resilience and energy of Northern Ireland companies, according to Ulster Business editor David Elliott.

“To have posted such a solid performance in light of the uncertainty created by Brexit and the stalemate at Stormont highlights the robustness of our biggest business,” he said. “They have concentrated on growing their businesses in the prevailing conditions and proved once again to have the talent and industry to compete with the best in the world.”

When it comes to individual performance, the agri-food sector has once again dominated the leader board with meat processor Moy Park taking the top spot for the sixth consecutive year.

It recorded turnover of £1.437bn last year, up from £1.379bn the previous year.

“We’re hugely excited to be named number one in the Ulster Business Top 100 Northern Ireland Companies listing, an achievement which is all down to our brilliant people,” chief executive Janet McCollum said. “I’ve had the privilege to work in this business for 25 years and the passion and commitment of our people is second to none.”

Grain importer and feed manufacturer W&R Barnett took second place with sales of £946m, up an impressive £131m on the previous year while red meat processor Dunbia took third place with £788m, down £39m.

New entrants include Fivemiletown-based clothing manufacturer Cooneen by Design, Carrickfergus engineering company Ryobi Aluminium Casting, Ballymena meat processor Cranswick Country Foods, Enniskillen engineering firm Severfield (formerly Fisher Engineering), energy infrastructure company Mutal Energy, Dungannon screening equipment engineer McCloskey International and energy infrastructure firm GE Grid Solutions.

Mark Thompson, Head of Belfast Office at A&L Goodbody which sponsored the list, said the Top 100 companies have put in a sterling performance.

“Yet again, each of the companies has made a hugely significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy over the past 12 months,” he said. “They have created hundreds of new jobs and supported many thousands more.

“They have each reported inspiring stories of success at home and abroad, underpinned by investment, innovation, R&D and export.”



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