Business & Finance 100

Business & Finance Top 100 Companies Index – Part 1

By Business & Finance
10 December 2020

Business & Finance have released the annual Top 100 Index recognising the top companies operating in Ireland in 2020.

Part 1Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The full list is available to download here

AB Packaging 

The paper bag and flexible packaging producer founded by CEO Dermot Brady over 30 years ago makes paper shopping bags and tissue for commercial retailers such as Primark, T.J. Maxx, Nike, Vodafone, and Tommy Hilfiger. When Primark, one of the Blessington-based Group’s largest customers, entered into the US market it was imperative to follow and AB opened its first US plant in Newark in 2016, joining existing strategically-located bases in the UK and Spain.

ABP Food Group

Founded in 1954, the award-winning beef processing group operates with a network of over 35,000 farmers, and contributes an estimated €1.3bn each year into the rural economies in which it operates, turning over €3bn. The core business—ABP Beef—is supported by its renewable, pet food and protein divisions, which combine to ensure the value of by-products is maximised and the environmental impact is minimised. It operates across 51 locations in 9 countries across Ireland, the UK and Europe. ABP won 29 awards at the World Steak Challenge 2018, including World’s Best Fillet Steak, and repeated the win for World’s Best Fillet Steak at the World Steak Challenge 2019. They were awarded 13 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze accolades across a number of different categories, reaffirming ABP’s position the leading beef processor in the EU. These awards are an endorsement of the unique Ultra Tender Process that the company utilises. Last year ABP Foods announced a ground-breaking deal with Chinese online retailer one of the largest B2C online retailers in China by transaction volume and revenue, with 301.8 million active users recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, founded in 1936. It operates 65 aircraft on over 70 destinations in the UK and Europe and 12 destinations in North America. Customers travelling to the USA via Ireland can benefit from the Customs and Border Pre-Clearance, allowing customers to save valuable time on arrival into the USA. Aer Lingus is Ireland’s only 4-Star airline, awarded by Skytrax, the international air transport rating organisation. Its mission is to be the leading value carrier operating across the North Atlantic. Its home base is Dublin Airport. Aer Lingus is a member of International Airlines Group (IAG), one of the world’s largest airline groups.


Galway MedTech firm Aerogen, is the world leader in Acute Care aerosol drug delivery, employing over 300 people between its HQ in Ireland and Commercial and Clinical Support teams across Europe, Middle East, US and Asia. The company’s multi-award winning products are now used in over 75 countries around the globe and to-date more than 10 million Acute Care patients from neonatal through to adult have benefitted from Aerogen’s market leading drug delivery systems.


AIB is a financial services group operating predominantly in Ireland and the United Kingdom. AIB provides a range of services to retail, business and corporate customers, with market-leading positions in key segments. The group’s chief brand is AIB in all markets. In Ireland, the group also operates the EBS challenger brand and Haven, a mortgage broker channel. With over 2.8 million customers, AIB is committed to backing sustainable communities and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.


Limerick-based AMCS was founded by CEO Jimmy Martin. AMCS is the leading supplier of integrated software and vehicle technology for the waste, recycling and material resources industries. AMCS is headquartered in Ireland with offices in the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and Pennsylvania in the US.

An Post

An Post is a major commercial organization providing a wide range of services encompassing postal, communication, retail and financial areas. It is one of Ireland’s largest companies directly employing over 10,000 people through its national network of retail, processing and delivery points. An Post has had the third year in a row of profit and growth, making it one of the best performing postal organisations worldwide. An Post was forecast to make a loss of €150m in 2019 but is on course to make a profit of €40m.


Petrogas Group US INC T/A Applegreen is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Applegreen plc, a publicly quoted company listed on the Irish and UK stock markets, also operating four sites in the US. The fuel and forecourt retailer is focused on continual expansion of activity in its three main markets – Ireland, the UK and the US, striking a deal in 2018 that would see it holding a majority stake in UK motorway service area operator, Welcome Break.

Ardagh Glass

Ardagh is a global leader in glass and metal packaging, with a global staff of over 23,500 in 22 countries. Founded in 1932 as the Irish Glass Bottle Company in Dublin, the company expanded through a series of acquisitions after Paul Coulson, the current Chairman and CEO, acquired an initial stake in the company in 1998.

ATA Group

The Cavan-headquartered precision engineering toolmaker operates in over 70 international markets, with a network of over 1,800 distributors and has manufacturing centres in Ireland, the UK, Germany and the US. The business has been built up over 50 years, serving aerospace, automotive, oil and gas markets, shipbuilding and steel fabrication. Former Smurfit executive Peter Cosgrove led the acquisition of the company in 2008, seeing its potential for international growth. The acquisition of its strongest competitor, SGS Tool (Cleveland, Ohio), in December 2012, was followed by the 2014 acquisition of Leicestershire-based Garryson and the 2018 acquisition of cutting tools specialist Karnasch of Germany. Together these deals put the company into a world leadership position in its core tungsten carbide bur category with a scalable position in the much larger global cutting tool market. ATA employs over 300 people worldwide.


With Ireland the global leader in aviation leasing, Avolon is one of the most important pieces of the jigsaw—it was the largest funded startup in the world, raising $750 million in equity, and is currently the third largest lessor in the world with the youngest fleet. The year 2018 saw the completion and opening of Avolon’s new global HQ at One Ballsbridge, Dublin, complementing its offices in the US, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland’s purpose is to enable its customers, colleagues and communities to thrive. The Bank offers a wide range of banking and other financial services and was established by Royal Charter in 1783. In the UK, the Group has long-established partnerships with the Post Office and the AA providing consumer financial services. The Group’s international business is conducted by its Corporate Banking and Global Markets teams operating from Dublin, London, and offices in continental Europe and the United States.


A global leader in animal health, Bimeda has established markets in more than 70 countries worldwide and has R&D, manufacturing and distribution capabilities across Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Bimeda employs almost 800 employees worldwide with US headquarters are based in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. The Bimeda US product portfolio focuses on five key categories: ecto- and endo-parasiticides, water soluble antimicrobial, injectables and nutritional products.


BoyleSports is the second largest bookmaker in Ireland, 231 retail branches throughout the country. Founded in 1989 by John Boyle, it is headquartered in Dundalk, County Louth.


The Brightwater Group is a highly reputable and established brand with a market presence of over 21 years in Ireland. They have a proven ability in managing highly specialist recruitment drives through to complex large-scale multi-disciplinary hiring campaigns under tight deadlines.


The leading retail and wholesale distribution group, including Spar, Mace and Londis brands, was formed from the amalgamation of four independent wholesale companies in the 1970s. A 2002 management buyout from Pernod Ricard was led by CEO Leo Crawford, supported by London-based VC firm Electra Partners. In 2006, Triod Investments Ltd – controlled by Crawford, John Clohisey and John O’Donnell – completed the purchase.They now operate the foods Division in Ireland, incorporating REtail, Wholeseale and Wines & Spirits, BWG Property and Appleby Westward which operates the regional distribution centre for Spar in the UK.

C&C Group

Best known internationally for its Magners cider brand (Bulmers in Ireland) C&C Group has production facilities in Ireland, the UK and the US. It grew out of a Belfast chemist business, Cantrell & Dyas, which manufactured mineral waters, ginger ale, lemonade and soda water in the 1850s. Merging with the soft drinks business of Henry Cochrane, Cantrelll and Cochrane gave their names to today’s C&C Group.

Circle K

Circle K Ireland, part of the global fuel and convenience store brand Circle K, is the leading fuel and convenience retailer in Ireland. With an ambition to grow the geographic footprint of the Circle K brand, the Irish market was selected as being a strategic fit to strengthen the position of the brand in Western Europe. With just under 2,400 employees, its retail network is made up of 410 stations across the island of Ireland. Of these stations, 158 are owned by Circle K, 247 are owned by independent retail Partners, and 5 are franchised. Alimentation Couche-Tard, Circle K’s parent company, operates a network of almost 16,000 stores around the world including: 9,800 stores throughout North America and 2,700 in Europe. Couche-Tard employs 133,000 people and has licensing agreements for another 2,200 stores.


Coillte is Ireland’s largest forester and timber producer and the largest provider of outdoor recreation facilities in the country. Additionally, the business develops renewable energy projects and carries out nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement projects. Coillte, a commercial semi-state, is custodian of 7% of the land area of Ireland of which 90% is forested. The business produces over 75% of Ireland’s timber supply which is key to enabling the Irish timber industry, with this industry supporting c.12,000 rural jobs and worth c.€2.3bn to the Irish economy.


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 headquartered in Dublin and is a global provider of talent solutions including specialist recruitment, managed services and outsourcing. Cpl employs over 13,000 people who support our customers globally. They have 45 office locations across Ireland, United Kingdom and Central and Eastern Europe, together with office in Boston and Munich. This international office network works with Cpl customers on a domestic and global markets basis to provide the most impactful talent solutions.


Daa is a global airports and travel retail business headquartered in Dublin with operations in 16 countries. Its 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. It operates Terminal 5 at KKIA Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, owns a 20% stake in Dusseldorf Airport in Germany and has travel retail stores in 12 countries. daa turnover was €935 million in 2019, driven by growing passenger numbers and increased commercial income. Group profit after tax, excluding exceptional items, was €150 million.

Dalata Hotel Group

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 29 hotels, leases 12 hotels and have 3 management contracts with a total of 9,200 rooms. It currently has 13 Hotels in development with 3300 rooms, 10 of those Hotels are in the UK and 3 in Dublin. In the five years since listing the company’s revenue has grown over five-fold from €79m to €429m and EBITDA has grown from €6m to €135m, 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

Dale Farm, Northern Ireland’s largest farmer-owned dairy processing cooperative reported a group operating profit of £12.2m (€13.75m), with the announcement of its latest financial accounts. The Group turnover is £504m to the 12 months to March 2020. 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.

Dawn Farms

Established in 1985, Dawn Farms is a family-owned company and the largest dedicated supplier of cooked meat and plant-based ingredients and fermented and dried sausage products outside of the US. Dawn Farms is Europe’s leading dedicated multi-species cooked meat ingredients company. Offering the most comprehensive range of fermented and dried sausage products (pepperoni, salami and chorizo) for the pizza, sandwich, snack and prepared meal sectors. Their extensive product range is further complemented by a growing selection of other cooked protein options to meet today’s developing consumer trends. They are a family company with a global reach, exporting to over 44 international markets and proud to supply many of the world’s leading food brands from our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ireland, Germany and the U.K.

Business & Finance Top 100 Companies (alphabetical):

View part one (A-D)

View part two (D-H)

View part three (H-O)

View part four (O-W)