As another challenging but immensely successful year for Irish business, in a domestic and global context, draws to a close we are delighted to release the Business & Finance 100, celebrating the ‘100 Most Outstanding Irish Companies of 2019’. The Index comprises the best performing, most innovative, and fastest growing companies.
It is no secret that Ireland’s economy has been gaining strength year on year from the dark days of the recession and at almost full employment, it’s a testimony to the country as a whole but to these companies in particular—driving as they are the immense success of the nation through the success of their business. The Business & Finance 100 comprises some well-known company names, as can only be expected—companies such as Smurfit Kappa, Aer Lingus, Primark and CPL—as well as newer companies that are constantly innovating, increasing their reach and scope and making waves such as Netwatch, Transfermate and eShopWorld.
Business & Finance are proud to recognise the Business & Finance 100 in the magazine, online and as an integral part of the Business & Finance Awards. The new decade is shaping up to be an exciting year and we look forward to reporting on the successes of these companies as they continue to flourish.
Forklift manufacturer and material handler solutions provider Combilift announced 200 new jobs in 2018, at its new €50 million global headquarters in Monaghan. Combilift currently employs 550 people in manufacturing its forklifts and material handling products. Established in 1998, Combilift currently exports 98% of its products to 85 countries through its international dealer network of 250.
Cpl is a global Irish company founded by Anne Heraty, CEO; it is a recognised leader in temporary and permanent recruitment and has a US office in Boston, Massachusetts. In the US, Cpl caters to Irish corporates based in the US and local US companies. Cpl work closely with US companies setting up European operations and actively support the IDA in their marketing activities. Stephen Mullin, Group Sales Director, in the contact for Cpl’s US activities and works with US and Irish companies across their global network of 41 offices in 11 countries.
Formed through a merger in 1970 of two leading Irish public companies, Cement Limited (established in 1936) and Roadstone, Limited (1949), CRH is one of the world’s leading building products and materials companies and Ireland’s largest company. Oldcastle, its North American arm is the largest building materials company in North America with more than 1,700 operations in 50 US states and 6 Canadian provinces.
DAA’s principal activities include the operation and management of Dublin and Cork airports, global airport retailing with our subsidiary ARI, and international aviation consultancy with DAA International. The company is State-owned and headquartered at Dublin Airport. The group’s profits rose by 6% to €133m in 2018 while turnover increased by 5% to €897m, with good growth in commercial activities, aeronautical income and increased sales at its international businesses.
Dalata was founded in 2007, by Pat McCann, CEO, with the acquisition of 11 leasehold hotels. The strategy was to build a strong base in Ireland, expand into the UK, and at a later stage into mainland Europe. The financial crash in 2008 changed everything. A young company like Dalata would not be expected to survive such an event. In 2009 there were 900 hotels in Ireland. By the end of that year, 300 of those hotels were insolvent. In all this chaos Dalata spotted an opportunity. As banks appointed receivers over hotels, they needed someone to manage these hotels. Dalata took on the management of 37 hotels on behalf of these banks. Virtually overnight Dalata became the largest hotel operator in Ireland. Cognizant that at some point the banks would need to sell on those hotels at well below replacement cost, the decision was made in 2013 to float the company on both London and Dublin stock exchanges, raising €520m in equity from fund managers in Ireland, the US, the UK and Europe to acquire hotels across Ireland and in the UK. Today Dalata owns 30 hotels, leases 10 hotels and have 3 management contracts with a total of 9,046 rooms. In the five years since listing the company’s revenue has grown five-fold from €79m to €394m and EBITDA has grown from €6m to €120m, and it is the largest hotel company ever to exist in Ireland with the two largest hotel brands, Clayton Hotels and Maldron Hotels.
Dale Farm, Northern Ireland’s largest farmer-owned dairy processing cooperative reported a 19% jump in pre-tax profits in July, with the announcement of its latest financial accounts showing £12m (€13.3m). The Group also grew its turnover by 5.6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2019, up to £509 million.
Dale Farm is made up of more than 1,300 dairy farmers across the North, England and Scotland. The Group’s activities span the food chain, from providing farm inputs and services, to collecting and marketing its members’ milk supplies, manufacturing an extensive range of dairy consumer and food ingredient products, and distributing these to both the domestic and over 40 export markets world-wide.
Established in 1980 in Waterford, the family-owned business exports to over 50 countries, supplying major retailers, manufacturers & foodservice operators across the globe. It now has over 7,000 employees in 12 countries, including 10 sites in Ireland and 12 sites in the UK. Dawn Meats processes over 300,000 tonnes of meat per annum, supplied by over 30,000 farmers; it contributes approximately €1.67 billion per annum to rural Economies in Ireland and the UK. It was the first food processor to achieve National Standards Authority of Ireland’s “Business Working Responsibly” Mark across all Irish plants this year, and was joint winner of the Diversity & Inclusion category at the Bord Bia Food and Drink Awards 2019.
International sales, marketing and support services group DCC operates through four divisions: LPG, Retail & Oil, Healthcare and Technology. Headquartered in Dublin, it operates in 17 countries, employing approximately 11,500 people. DCC plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100. In its financial year ended 31 March 2018, DCC generated revenue of £14.3 billion and operating profit of £383.4 million.
Since inception, Diaceutics’ focus has been on precision medicine and improving the testing ecosystem to ensure more people with life-threatening illnesses are given the right treatment at the right time. Today, more than 42% of all drugs in late-stage development are dependent upon biomarker testing. However, sub-optimal testing practices mean many patients are missing out on the chance to be put on these potentially life-saving medications. Diaceutics’ services help pharmaceutical companies to pinpoint risks and challenges that can get in the way of effective testing and make it difficult to reach all the patients that need to be on specific drugs. In doing so, Diaceutics is revolutionising patient healthcare by improving the commercial success of precision medicine drugs and the last 12 months have been the company’s most successful yet.
Following its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in March, Diaceutics is securing the funding to achieve its vision of better patient testing everywhere. This includes an investment of £1m in the acquisition of 16 million additional patient records per annum. On top of that, the company celebrated its expansion into Asia with the establishment of its Asian HQ in Singapore in January. Diaceutics estimates that there are currently more than 300 targeted oncology drugs in late stage development across the major Asian markets. The company will support the launch of–and access to–precision therapies in China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.
Founded by Chairman Mark Roden in 2006, Ding enables expats to send mobile phone credit top-ups to friends and family back home. The Dublin-based firm has 200 employees worldwide, with offices in New Jersey and Miami in the US, as well as Dubai, Dhaka, Paris and Bucharest, and is preparing to add 100 new staff by 2021. They work with over 400 mobile phone operators in over 130 countries. Accounts for Ezetop, the unlimited company that owns Ding, show Net revenue rose 10 per cent to $38.3 million last year.
Donnelly Group is Northern Ireland’s largest independent car retailer, with eight dealers across cities and towns such as Belfast, Enniskillen, Newtownabbey, Omagh, Dungannon and Eglinton. Donnelly Group dealerships distribute Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Volkswagen and Toyota, as well as nearly new vehicles from the likes of Audi, Nissan, and Honda.
Terence Donnelly, executive chairman of the family-owned Group, received a lifetime achievement award at the Mid Ulster Business Excellence Awards in November 2019, recognising the growth of the company, which sells more than 15,000 vehicles a year from its nine locations, and employs more than 700 people staff.
DPS Group is a global consulting, engineering and construction management company, serving high-tech industries around the world. DPS employs industry experts in key locations in Europe, the U.S., Asia and the Middle East, bringing world-class resources and the latest innovative technologies to every project. Offering specialised architectural, engineering and construction services to the advanced technology, process chemical, industrial and life sciences sectors, they work with semiconductor, solar, nanotechnology, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and process industry clients.
The Dunne family has a rich history in Irish retail, having first opened a store in 1944 on Cork’s Patrick’s Street. The chain is now one of the country’s major retail outlets, battling with international players such as Tesco, M&S, Aldi and Lidl, and frequently retaining pole position as Ireland’s favourite supermarket. Kantar Worldpanel’s research for the 12 weeks to 3 November 2019 show Dunnes’ growth of 4.4% was again the fastest among the three biggest retailers. Ireland’s largest supermarket also increased its market share by 0.4 percentage points, bringing it to 22.8%.
Since 1992, Margaret Heffernan has been at the helm of Dunnes Stores. Her leadership has rejuvenated the brand, fostering partnerships with Irish fashion and homewares designers in recent years, and will be noted as one of Ireland’s great transformation operations.
Eir is the principal provider of fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services in Ireland with approximately 2 million customers. The company has the most extensive telecommunications network in Ireland both in terms of capacity and geographic reach. Eir provides a comprehensive range of advanced voice, data, broadband and TV services to the residential, small business, enterprise and government markets.
Eir has a mobile division which operates under the eir Mobile brand. The wholesale division, Open eir, is the largest wholesale operator in Ireland, providing products and services to over 70 national and 25 international wholesale customers across a range of regulated and unregulated markets. Revenue for the year ended 30 June 2019 was €1.25 billion and Adjusted EBITDA was €578 million.
End of year results announced by eir in September 2019 revealed results in line with expectations. The company experienced continued year on year growth in fibre broadband, postpay mobile, TV, sport and product bundling.
Founded in 2011, ElectroRoute is a homegrown Irish energy supplier aiming to liberalise markets through analysis and new practices in electricity & gas trading. The company also offer client services for renewable energy firms, and has begun to open offices overseas: a UK office was established in 2017, and ElectroRoute now plans to enter the Japanese power market where its principle owner, Mitsubishi Corporation, is based. Registered in Donegal, the company is headquartered in Dublin with a team of over 60 energy professionals.
With a commitment to renewable energy, Energia’s wind division now provides 25% of Ireland’s wind power. The company is a leading supplier of electricity for Irish businesses – its business customer base now exceeds 60,000. Energia forms part of Viridian Group which provides energy services both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The firm has previously made large investments into conventional electricity generation: its Huntstown Power Station can generate up to 20% of the island’s electricity needs. The group now also operate a large number of wind farms concentrated in the north and south of the country.
The company formerly known as Bord Gáis Éireann, Ervia form the background of Ireland’s gas-supply network. A commercial semi-state, Ervia is a key supplier of both services and infrastructure for gas and water in Ireland through its subsidiaries Gas Networks Ireland and Irish Water. In addition, the group’s Aurora Telecom business supplies dark fibre broadband using newly-developed fibre optic technology. Headed up by Group CEO Mike Quinn, the group was suggested as a potential new operator for the National Broadband Plan by Fianna Fáil.
The original: the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is Ireland’s oldest state-owned electricity company. Historically operated as a monopoly, the group has liberalised in recent years to become a commercial semi-state body operating in competition with other energy suppliers. One of Ireland’s largest companies, the group employs in excess of 7,000 people, and it provides electricity to over 1.4 million customers. The company ESB currently generates 43% of the island’s electricity capacity and holds a regulated asset base of €9 billion.
eShopWorld powers global eCommerce growth for leading retail brands across industries, from apparel and footwear to cosmetics and sporting equipment. The company’s powerful technology platform and extensive logistics network opens up over 200 global markets and delivers a hyper-localised experience to shoppers on behalf of the world’s most popular retail brands. The company is a partner of Facebook for brands advertising on the social network allowing them to reach more shoppers internationally.
Revenues are set to increase by approximately €130m, or 30-35% in 2019, with an increase in headcount to 350 (+100 year-on-year). A number of significant projects have been completed, including a move from a monolith infrastructure to a microservices infrastructure, and a series of client specific growth initiatives. eShopWorld has also successfully onboarded a significant number of new clients in 2019.
In eShopWorld’s key regions, Europe grew by more than 21 percent, North America by 25 percent and Asia in excess of 100 percent. ‘Rest of World’ saw growth of more than 1600 percent from a lower base, reflecting the group’s increasing penetration into emerging markets on behalf of its clients. Europe accounted for almost 60 percent of sales while North America drew 36 percent of sales in 2018.
Also, over the last year, the company invested in a new headquarters for the company’s US base and in early 2019 it doubled its group headquarters in Dublin to 24,000 sq. ft. under a three-year lease.
Northern Ireland-based Fane Valley Co-operative was formed over 115 years ago, and is now recognised as one of Ireland’s most progressive agri-food concerns. The group hold a range of interests across the sector, including red meats, breakfast cereals, animal feed, and livestock services. 100%-owned by its 1250 shareholders, the Co-operative has annual sales which top £525 million which flow from its locations across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, and England.