Sales up to £26.7bn but profits fall at Top 100 companies

Michael Neill, head of the Belfast office of A&L Goodbody, sponsor of the Top 100, with Ulster Business editor John Mulgrew

THE north's biggest businesses have seen a small bump in sales - but profits have largely stalled.

The NI Top 100 companies 2021 list compiled by Ulster Business magazine, supported by A&L Goodbody, shows that top-line sales increased by 4.3 per cent year-on-year to £26.7 billion.

But profits fell marginally among those businesses by 0.3 per cent to £930.2 million according to the list, which has showcased the performance of the north's biggest firms for more than 30 years.

The list draws together data from Dun & Bradstreet and the latest accounts filed to Companies House, with data from including more recent filings for many firms covering the period since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are a number of newcomers this year, including German discount supermarket giant Lidl, which is now filing full accounts in Northern Ireland, and blinds maker Mzuri Group, based in Lisburn.

Poultry giant Moy Park has topped the list for the 10th year in a row.

Within the Ulster Business Top 100 for 2021, firms employed a total of 101,792 people – a decrease of 2.3 per cent from the prior year's listing of 104,210.

Ulster Business has partnered with corporate law firm A&L Goodbody for the last six years with the Top 100.

“This year, it's encouraging to note the continued strong performance of the familiar faces at the top end of the list – many of whom have retained their spot during the six years we have supported the Ulster Business Top 100 Companies edition,” said Michael Neill, head of A&L Goodbody's Belfast office.

John Mulgrew, editor of Ulster Business, said: “In the 12 months since the last Top 100, many of our biggest companies have had to pivot, evolve and deal with operating in an ever-changing environment.

“But many have actually increased sales and profits in the middle of this pandemic, while others have faced challenges to their way of working.

“It may be another year before a clearer picture of the true impact of Covid-19 on our private sector, but there remains resilience and strong results among many of the companies making the 2021 list.”

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