Business

Northern Ireland's 'corporate elite' businesses see sales spike to £31 billion

Belfast grain and commodities business W&R Barnett, which owns the Thompsons Feeds business among others, was number one in the Ulster Business Top 100 publication with sales of £1.57 billion and pre-tax profits of £69.1m for the year ending July 2022. Picture: Hugh Russell
Belfast grain and commodities business W&R Barnett, which owns the Thompsons Feeds business among others, was number one in the Ulster Business Top 100 publication with sales of £1.57 billion and pre-tax profits of £69.1m for the year endi Belfast grain and commodities business W&R Barnett, which owns the Thompsons Feeds business among others, was number one in the Ulster Business Top 100 publication with sales of £1.57 billion and pre-tax profits of £69.1m for the year ending July 2022. Picture: Hugh Russell

THE north’s biggest businesses have seen their sales soar by almost 17 per cent in the last year despite the wider economic malaise.

Figures contained in the newly-published Ulster Business Top 100 magazine show that revenues grew to £30.7 billion from £26.3 billion in that corporate elite cohort, while pre-tax profits grew by 11.4 per cent from £1.43bn to £1.59bn.

The list, published in association with KPMG, has showcased the performance of the biggest firms from right across Northern Ireland, ranked by turnover, for more than 30 years, utilising data from most recent accounts filed to Companies House.

A dozen new firms have made this year’s Top 100 list, which is again topped by grain and commodities business W&R Barnett.

The family-run company, headed by William Barnett, saw sales of £1.57bn and pre-tax profits of £69.1m for the year ending July 2022.

Some of the new firms on this year’s list include MBNI Holdings, which sells trucks and vans; CDE Global, headquartered in Co Tyrone and producing processing equipment for the mining, quarrying and recycling sectors; and Wrightbus, the Ballymena-based bus maker which is now expanding and growing under its new ownership.

Johnny Hanna, partner in charge of KPMG in Northern Ireland, said: “We have a long-held regard for the Ulster Business Top 100 publication.

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“It is clear from this year’s ranking that the leading corporates share similar attributes in the form of a thirst for innovation and an ability to provide dynamic solutions to a global marketplace.

“We congratulate all of the companies on the list. The opportunities – in the form of dual market access under the proposals put forward in the Windsor Framework and the potential to lower Northern Ireland’s corporation tax – are significant, and we look forward to working alongside them and the wider business community in the future.”

Some 13 companies within the listing declared losses for their last financial year (their losses amounted to £213m).

More than 102,000 people are employed by Northern Ireland’s Top 100 Companies.

Ulster Business editor John Mulgrew said: “The Top 100 list has again shown our business landscape is continuing to highlight both healthy growth and resilience.

“We can see from the companies topping the list, those rising up it, and the newcomers, that the Northern Ireland business landscape is in a fairly healthy place given the sheer variety and wide breadth of firms making the Top 100 this year.”

Jonathan Cushley, who compiled this year’s list, said: “The latest Top 100 edition highlights a continued strengthening of their financial performance.

“It once again shows increased performance and resilience among some of our biggest businesses.”