Fit-out firm Mac and screening giant CDE make elite 'fast growth' listing
NORTHERN Ireland's representation has halved from four to two on the annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks the UK's mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
But the two firms featured on the list - Mac-Interiors in Newry and Cookstown-based CDE Global - have grown their international sales by an average of 42 per cent a year over the last two years to a total of £88 million, and employ a combined 240 people.
Contractor Mac, a new entrant at number 64, has benefited from the influx of major US firms seeking a presence in Ireland, and its clients include Oracle, Intel and IBM. Working mainly in Dublin, its international sales rose to £56.6m in 2016.
Also featuring for the first time is CDE Global (number 171), which sells its waste and materials processing equipment to more than 70 countries.
Demand for its bespoke machinery from customers such as Mexican building materials supplier Cemex helped exports hit £31m in 2016.
The Northern Ireland duo appear with businesses from around the UK, including jewellery designer Monica Vinader, premium cycling brand Rapha, appliance manufacturer Gtech, and sandwich shop chain Pret. Past stars range from drinks maker Fever-Tree to travel search engine Skyscanner.
The league table reflects the importance of Europe to the UK's mid-market exporters ahead of the Brexit negotiations.
Almost 85 per cent of the companies (167) sell to the continent, the most popular market, followed by North America (112) and Asia (75).
Amanda Murphy, UK head of commercial banking at HSBC, said: “This year's Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 is testament to the exciting opportunities available to ambitious Northern Irish businesses with appetite to grow their goods and services abroad.”
This year's International Track 200 companies achieved, on average, overseas sales growth of 47 per cent a year over two years to a total of £7.6 billion. They employ 97,000 staff, having added 26,000 employees to their combined workforce over the period.