Business & Finance release the ‘100 Most Outstanding Irish Companies of 2018’, an index of Ireland’s best performing, most innovative, and fastest growing companies which will be celebrated as part of the 2018 Business & Finance awards on Thursday, December 13th at the Convention Centre, Dublin.
The full Index will be published in the next edition of the Business & Finance Quarterly Review due out in December.
Havok is a leading provider of games development technologies, which have been used in top franchises including Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. Their products have also been used to drive special effects in movies including Harry Potter, James Bond and the Matrix series. Havok has offices in Dublin, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Germany. Founded in Dublin in 1998 by Hugh Reynolds and Steven Collins, it was been acquired by Microsoft.
A family-owned retailer which launched as a small grocery in 1897, Henderson Group has expanded to become one of Ireland’s largest retail suppliers. Its Wholesale division provides goods to 400 stores across Northern Ireland, while its retail operation has ownership of 75 SPAR and EUROSPAR locations. The group’s activities also span several independent entities including Henderson Technology (point of sale software), Henderson Group Property (retail development) and Henderson Foodservice (provision of catering products).
Since its foundation in Dublin in 1990, Icon has grown to become a global leader in clinical research and provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. From a small team of 5 people in 1990, ICON has grown to employ over 13,380 people across 97 locations in 38 countries, through a mixture of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. ICON opened its first US office in Philadelphia in 1992, and began trading on the Nasdaq exchange in 1998. Icon now employs 4,600 in the US.
Independent News & Media (INM) publishes household names such as the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, The Herald, Sunday World, The Star and The Belfast Telegraph in print and online, as well as a range of lcoal medai oputlets and publishing operations. It employs around 1,000 people.
Cork-based Inver Energy is a leading nationwide fuel importer which provides 10 per cent of Ireland’s fuel requirements. Founded in 1983, the firm operates the Foynes Oil Terminal in Limerick. Inver Energy was acquired by UK-firm Greenergy in 2017, retaining its existing management team, and promising accelerated expansion. In the same year, the firm recorded a profit of €2.4m on the back of a turnover in excess of €470 million. Inver’s Managing Director, Chris O’Callaghan, said: “Greenergy’s global reach and financial resources will allow Inver to execute our growth strategy across all facets of the business.”
Irish Continental is a transport group responsible for operating ferry services, transporting freight, and ship leasing. Chief among its subsidiaries is Irish Ferries, a passenger and freight service that links Ireland to Britain and Continental Europe via sea routes. The group also includes a Container and Terminal Division which operate terminals in Dublin and Belfast as well as shipping activities. In the six months to 30 June 2018, the group reported revenue of €157.2 million – an increase of 0.7 per cent on the previous year.
One of Ireland’s best-known life assurance and pensions companies, Irish Life joined the Great-West Life group in 2013 as part of a $1.7 billion deal. In 2016, the group launched Irish Life Health following the acquisition of GloHealth and Aviva Health. Great-West Life itself, a Canadian entity, now administers over $1.3 trillion in consolidated assets, serving 30 million customers globally. In the Irish market, the group also manages €2.6 billion in property assets, with plans to increase its portfolio to €33 billion within the next decade.
John Paul Construction
John Paul reported surging profits in 2017 with operating profit rising 40 per cent to €8.7 million. A significant building and civil engineering contractor, the firm has enjoyed strong growth in recent years, including a 300 per cent year-on-year increase in profit in 2016. The company was originally founded in 1949 and, following a management buyout by its directors in 2001, now employs 326. Recent projects included a €68 million overhaul of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, and the firm has been appointed to work on an upgrade of the Stillorgan Village Centre.
Beginning with a family farm in 1926, three generations of Keelings have grown their fruit business into Ireland’s largest horticultural concern. The group’s operations now span five divisions and 2,000 employees, operating across Europe, and reporting sales in excess of €300 million in 2016. Two thirds of sales come from within Ireland, with the UK and France as its next-largest markets. Keelings remains family-owned & run, with Caroline Keeling acceding to the position of CEO in 2012. In 2016, she said: “On the funding side of it, we are a family business, it’s 100pc family-owned and currently we’re happy with that.” In September 2018, Keelings announced an expansion of its FoodCentral business park – a 280-acre site near Dublin Airport which hosts a range of Irish food-industry companies.
A family-run business that began with a butcher’s shop, Kepak has grown to an internationally operating, multi-faceted food innovator with 30,000 employees across 30 countries, and the first Irish meat Irish meat processing company to launch an Irish beef retail brand —Celtic Beef Company—in the USA. In Ireland, Kepak pledged to donate some 4.2 tonnes of produce to homeless charity Simon Community over the winter of 2018, reducing the Simon Community’s meat costs by almost 30%.
Having commenced operation from a green field site in Listowel, Co. Kerry in 1972, the Kerry organisation has evolved from a private dairy processor, to a dairy co-operative, to its current incarnation as a public company with annualised sales of approximately €6.4 billion, and operations established in 27 countries across five continents. CEO Edmond Scanlon announced a 3.5% rise in business volumes in the nine months to the end of September 2018 in its most recent set of results.
Kingspan, the leading global manufacturer of insulation panels for the construction industry, was founded as a small family construction business over 40 years ago. Kingspan, under CEO Gene Murtagh, has indicated that trading profit for the full year is expected to come in at around €440m, representing growth of around 15% on last year. In a trading update for the nine months to September, the Cavan-based group reported revenue for the first three quarters of €3.18 billion, up 18% on the same time last year.
One of Ireland’s largest construction groups, Lagan Group’s activities range across quarrying, cement, asphalt, and contracting. The group was originally founded in 1952 when Peter Lagan created a haulage business in Belfast. Last year, Lagan Group reported turnover of £272 million along with EBITDA (combined earnings) of £55m In April 2018, the group was acquired by Breedon, Britain’s largest independent building materials supplier, in a deal worth £455 million.
Founded by Fergal Broder in 1989, LotusWorks is an Irish engineering and technical solutions provider. The company, which offers specialist engineering expertise to clients, has an annual turnover of €50 million, employing 520 staff in Europe and the United States. The firm has worked on over 4000 projects in Europe, the United States, and South America. In October 2018, four of the Lotuswork’s senior executives completed a management buyout as the firm seeks to expand its technical and engineering capabilities.
A leading internet provider since its founding in 2004, Magnet has invested over €120 million into creating Ireland’s most advanced telecoms network, boasting “Ireland’s fastest broadband speeds”. Headquartered in Ireland, Magnet provides services to business and consumers whmich include fixed lines, television, and broadband via optical fibre. In 2018, the company set forth its international ambitions when it launched a new Global Division, announcing Mark Kellett as Group CEO and telecoms expert Stephen Brewer as Managing Director of its Ireland Division.
Mainstream Renewable Power is an Irish energy firm which develops and finances large-scale renewable energy projects. Earlier this year, the company executed the sale of a massive Scottish offshore wind farm in a deal worth up to €650 million. The company considers its most prized asset to be a 1,200 megawatt portfolio of wind and solar projects in Chile. Mainstream has valued its own worth at €700 million, and its chief executive, Andy Kinsella, has indicated that the firm may be sold on from 2020, as it considers exit options for shareholders.
Maxol Group is one of Ireland’s most recognised oil brands – its operations now span 230 service stations in every county. Since its founding in 1920, the company has diversified its offering, and it is now responsible for most parts of the oil supply chain (including automotive, heating, and oil terminals). It also operates an increasingly tailored retail offering: most recently, in November 2018, the company announced the opening of its first Mexican restaurant outlet of the Zambrero chain.
The poultry producer, Northern Ireland’s largest private sector business, made headlines in 2017 when it was sold to American investors for €1.1 billion. Headquartered in Craigavonor, the firm is headed by Chris Kirke. Founded as a small farm in Tyrone over seven decades ago, the group now processes an average of 5.7 million chickens per week, holding a market share which ranks it among Europe’s leading poultry producers. May Park has also grown to become one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers, with more than half of the group’s international workforce of 12,000 based there.
Musgrave, Ireland’s largest grocery distributor, is the business behind many of Ireland’s most well-known supermarket brands. Its operations range from wholesale to a vast Retail Partners division which manages grocery chains in the Republic of Ireland including SuperValu, Centra, and Mace. Founded by two brothers as a small grocery in 1876, the group’s 40,000 employees now make it Ireland’s largest private employer. In 2017, group turnover reached €3.7 billion, with a pre-tax profit of €80 million.
A global payment services giant, NCR Corporation’s products span software, hardware, and a portfolio of services for small and medium business. Originally known as National Cash Register, the American company has built a name providing point-of-sale solutions and ATMs – recently announcing the launch of a new online purchase platform. The tech company’s Irish subsidiary, Global Solutions, employs 43 at its Dublin base which reported turnover of €1.1 billion and a loss of €6.7 million 2017.
Now known as Netwatch Group, the Carlow-based security tech enterprise recently merged with several American and UK rivals following an investment from American private equity firm Riverside. Netwatch was founded in 2003 by its current CEO, David Walsh, and CTO Niall Kelly, and provides remote security in the form of visual monitoring services for over 3,500 client locations throughout the world. The new group’s combined revenue is expected to exceed €60 million.
One of the world’s largest private veterinary pharmaceutical firms, family-owned Norbrook was founded by Lord Ballyedmond in 1969. From its headquarters in Newry, the company holds a drug portfolio which includes antibiotics such as a Noroclav and Betamox, and a range of NSAIDs used for horses, cattle, and swine. Norbrook saw its pre-tax profits jump 36% to €55 million in the 12 months leading to July 2017, buoyed by a strong performance in North America which was aided by depreciation in the pound and new products targeted at the pet market.
Ornua is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, exporting to c.110 countries worldwide, with annual sales of over €2bn over 2,000 employees worldwide across 19 business units. The Group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients. Ornua Foods is responsible for the global marketing and sales of Ornua’s consumer brands including Kerrygold and Dubliner. Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement and sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturers and foodservice customers and is supported by production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, the US, and by in-market teams in Africa and the Middle East.
Paddy Power Betfair
Paddy Power Betfair bookmaking business was created by the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, completed in February 2016. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The business maintains separate brands in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy. It operates across four divisions; online, retail, Australia and the United States. Its brands include Betfair, Paddy Power, Sportsbet in Australia, TVG, a US horse racing television channel and FanDuel, one of the leading daily fantasy sports operators in the United States.
Pallas Foods ranks among Ireland’s largest food wholesalers, with an estimated €450 million turnover in 2017. The group’s offering includes over 14,500 fresh, frozen, and non-food products served via its “next day delivery” fleet to over 9,000 customers. Pallas merged with Brakes Ireland in 2017, following acquisition by Pallas’ parent company Sysco, the US’s largest food distributor. It now employs 1,300 nationwide at facilities in Dublin, Newcastle West, and Lisburn.
Founded in Cork by entrepreneur Lnetiam Casey, PCH focuses on the design and production of consumer electronic devices and appliances. Headquartered in Cork, with operational headquarters in Shenzhen, China and U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, California, PCH has additional offices in Cape Town, South Africa; Hong Kong; New York; Pune, and India. PCH acquired Lime Lab, a Silicon Valley-based product development consultancy, in 2012, to focus on R&D and prototyping. In March 2018 PCH PCH raised $28m in equity, eight weeks before a KPMG report cast doubt on its abilities to continue as a going concern without raising additional funding.
Formed in 2012, Pay-as-you-go electricity company Pinergy is an Irish-owned company providing electricity to domestic households and commercial businesses run by chief executive Enda Gunnell.
PM Group is an international project delivery company founded by two Irish engineers in 1973, It has offices in the UK, USA, Poland and Singapore overseeing delivery of its services in project management, process design, facility design and construction management for major multinational companies across the Pharmaceutical, Food, Mission Critical, Medtech, Advanced Manufacturing and Energy sectors.
2018 Business & Finance 100:
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