Northern Ireland trio feature on league table of UK's biggest private companies
THREE companies headquartered in Northern Ireland who have each made a significant contribution to the regional economy will feature in the 15th annual Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100 league table ranking the UK's leading private companies with the biggest sales.
Together, Dunbia (at number 69 in the list), W&R Barnett (73rd) Henderson Group (91st) achieved sales of £2.3 billion and profits of £91 million in their last financial years, and collectively employ more than 6,700 people.
Co Tyrone meat processing company Dunbia, which is currently up for sale, is led by managing directors Jack and Jim Dobson, the brothers, who founded the business in 1976.
It employs 3,605 staff and in the year to March 2015 had sales of £827m and made a profit of £18m.
Belfast’s W&R Barnett had sales of £815m and made a profit of £42m. Employing 512 staff, the grain merchant was founded in 1896 but now has a wide range of interests, including international commodity trading, storage, agribusiness and industrial companies.
Henderson Group, which supplies the north’s Spar, Eurospar, Vivo and Vivoxtra franchises, as well as operating 78 of its own stores, reported sales of £659m, had a profit of £32m and has 2,680 staff on its payroll.
The company is led by brothers Martin and Geoffrey Agnew, who last year announced a £10m redevelopment of its Mallusk headquarters.
The Northern Ireland companies appear with businesses from around the UK, including high-profile brands such as Clarks, Dyson, Specsavers and Virgin Atlantic.
Dan Howlett, head of corporate banking in the UK at HSBC, said: “At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, we can take real comfort from the dynamic private companies across the UK as recognised by the Top Track 100 league table.
"Firms such as these are fundamental in helping to get Britain back to business during this post-Brexit period of uncertainty and the inevitable challenges ahead.
"These businesses are ambitious, agile and passionate about what they do and will play an important part in helping to drive the British economy forward, domestically and internationally."
This year’s Top Track 100 achieved, on average, annual sales growth of 3 per cent to a total of £173bn, and profit growth of 12 per cent to a total of £18.7bn. They employ 936,000 staff, having added 19,000 employees to their combined work force in their latest year.
The full list will be published in the Sunday Times on July 10.