Business & Finance have released the annual Top 100 Index recognising the top companies operating in Ireland in 2020.
The full list is available to download here
The Heatons Group is Ireland’s largest department store group employing over 2,000 people across Ireland. The company has three brands; Heatons Department stores (54 stores across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), SportsWorld (28 stores in the Republic of Ireland) and Sports Direct (15 stores in Northern Ireland). Heatons has been named as one of Ireland’s ‘Best Managed’ companies in the ‘Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards Programme’.
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. In its recently reported third-quarter 2019 results, Icon posted record net business wins in the quarter of $931 million with a book to bill of 1.31. Quarter 3 reported revenue of $710.4 million representing strong year on year growth of 8.5% or 9.5% on a constant currency basis. Adjusted earnings per share attributable to the Group of $1.74, a robust increase of 12.9% over Q3 2018. Year to date adjusted earnings per share attributable to the Group of $5.06, a 13.0% increase over prior year. CEO Dr. Steve Cutler commented, “ICON’s quarter 3 results show continuing growth and represent a strong endorsement of our overall strategy. “Given our strong progress this year we are increasing our 2019 revenue guidance from a range of $2,760 – $2,840 million to a range of $2,790 – $2,830 million and we are increasing earnings guidance from a range of $6.75 – $6.95 to $6.81 – $6.95.”
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.”
The Irish Post is the biggest selling national newspaper for the Irish community in Great Britain. It is published every Wednesday and is available in stores all across Britain and in selected stores in the Republic of Ireland.
Established in 1986, Kainos Group plc is an IT provider, across two specialist business areas, Digital Services and its Workday Practice. The Group’s Digital Services include full lifecycle development and support of customised Digital Services for public sector, healthcare and commercial customers. These transformative solutions encompass a range of services from experience design to Artificial Intelligence and Cloud to deliver truly intelligent solutions that are secure, accessible and cost-effective. The Group’s Workday Practice is one of Workday’s most respected partners. As a full-service partner, we are experienced in complex deployment and integrations, and the leader in Workday test automation. We’re trusted by our customers to launch, test, expand and safeguard their Workday systems. Kainos has over 1,700 people across 15 offices in Europe and North America who deliver exceptional services for customers like Netflix, NHS, The Pensions Regulator, Capital One and TomTom. In the company’s most recent financial results, Kainos noted another strong performance and are on track to deliver their tenth consecutive year of growth. Pre-tax profits have doubled to £24.0 million, revenues rose 23% to £107.2 million and bookings for the period reached £104.0 million.
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 Group reported revenue increased by 10.0%, reflecting business volume growth of 3.1%, in the nine months to the end of September 2019 in the most recent set of results.
Keywords Studios are the “go-to” provider of technical services for the video games industry, creating a global services platform across its 50+ Studios, located across 4 continents and 21 countries. By working as their external development partner, Keywords enables leading content creators and publishers to leverage their expertise and capacity across the lifecycle of interactive content. The company IPO-ed in London in 2013 to access capital for growth and acquisitions, growing from employing 50 people in Dublin in 2009 to employing more than 7,500 staff globally today.
Kingspan, the leading global manufacturer of insulation panels for the construction industry, was founded as a small family construction business over 40 years ago. The Group has huge opportunity for growth as reduction of carbon footprint has become a pressing issue. The Group has invested in organic growth and acquisitions in the US market, bringing their employee numbers up to 1,800. The Americas represented 20% of Kingspan’s business in 2017, in a record period for the group in which revenue rose by 18.0% to €3.7bn, and trading profit grew by 10.7% to €377.5m. High profile projects included facades on the Nike headquarters in Oregon and an Aloft Hotel in Texas. In its Trading Update for the period to 30 September 2019 posting Sales in the nine month period to 30 September were €3.43bn, up 8% on the same period in the prior year with sales growth slowing to 2% in the third quarter. Underlying sales (pre currency and acquisitions) were up 2% in the year to date and were flat in the third quarter.
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. In 2017, 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.
Lakeland Dairies Co-Operative Society Limited is a dairy co-operative headquartered in Co Cavan. It collects milk from its 3,2000 farm family shareholders across 16 counties in both Ireland and Northern Ireland and is Ireland’s second largest dairy processor (the largest in Northern Ireland), processing 1.85 billion litres of milk annually. Lakeland Dairies is a €1bn turnover business with eight processing sites on the island of Ireland as well as operations in Ireland, the UK and the United States. Lakeland Dairies exports dairy products to over 80 markets across the globe.
Founded in 1974, Linesight is a multinational construction consultancy firm with over 40 years’ experience providing independent cost and general consultancy services to the global construction industry. Linesight works with tier one clients across a multitude of sectors, including commercial, data centres, life sciences, high-tech industrial, residential. hospitality, healthcare and retail. Linesight’s specialist project teams, each with specific skills and experience, provide faster project delivery, greater cost efficiency and maximum value for money for their clients. Linesight USA is working on projects in excess of $12 billion across 27 states, with two main office hubs in New York and San Francisco. Linesight has developed long-lasting relationships with some of the biggest companies in the world and has earned a reputation as a world leader in its field.
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 4,000 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.
Mainstream Renewable Power
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 is Ireland’s largest family-owned forecourt retailer which, in 2020, celebrated its centenary year. From its humble beginnings back in 1920 to its 237 stations across Ireland today, staying true to the founding philosophy of being at the heart of every community in which it operates has been key to Maxol’s success. The innovative business offers a wide range of products and services to the Irish and Northern Irish markets through its convenience retailing, petroleum, fuel cards and lubricant divisions. Maxol’s business model is transitioning from being a fuel brand selling convenience products to a convenience food service brand selling fuel and new energies for mobility. Diversification is at the core of the company’s growth strategy, as evidenced by its move into the green energy sector earlier this year and the impact of its food offering on the company’s profitability. The Maxol Group directly and indirectly employs more than 1,000 people.
Mercury, founded in 1972 by Frank O’Kane and Joe Morgan, continues to operate as an entrepreneurial Irish based European Contractor. With almost 2,000 staff and revenues in excess of €750 million, Mercury made the key decision to rebrand in 2019 – the first and only in almost fifty years of business.
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 2018, the Group delivered its fourth consecutive year of improved profits and turnover reached €3.9 billion, up from €3.7 billion in 2017, with a pre-tax profit of €85 million up from €80 million.
National Broadband Ireland
National Broadband Ireland (NBI) is designing, building and operating the new high-speed fibre broadband network for rural Ireland. NBI’s team brings together some of the most talented individuals in Ireland and across the world, with deep knowledge and experience in delivering projects to the scale of the NBP. This includes developing, building and operating networks and coordinating all the elements required to finance and deliver a project of the size and complexity of Ireland’s NBP. They were established by Granahan McCourt, an international investor in technology, media and telecommunications. For over 30 years, Granahan McCourt has partnered with governments, corporations and communities to connect people through innovation in technologically underserved areas of the world. Their partners include KN Group, Secto and Actavo. Nokia is providing all the active equipment for the project while 4Site is their network design partner. They are also working with infrastructure owners such as eir (pole and ducts network) and ESB. They will be responsible for the management of the new national broadband network for the next 25 years.
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.
NearForm works with enterprises to design, build and deliver smart software solutions that accelerate speed to market for today’s digital business. With expertise in open source software, enterprise-grade security, and modern technology stacks and methodologies, NearForm enables businesses to successfully implement ideas fast, securely, and efficiently.
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, a range of NSAIDs used for horses, cattle, and swine, it also has a growing Companion Animal portfolio. It has over 200 product licences selling into over 100 countries globally. Norbrook saw solid growth across all regions in 2019 and its full-year results saw revenue grow to $275m, with US sales up 15%.
The OHM Group, established in 1972, is one of Ireland’s leading private businesses and is engaged in the exclusive distribution of internationally recognised brands and prestige products. The Group’s activities include the importation and distribution of motor cars—for Jaguar, Land Rover and Saab in Ireland— as well as commercial vehicles, buses, materials handling equipment, generators and engines. The Group is also successfully involved in motor retailing.
Founded in 1999 by Joe Hogan and Declan Conway, Openet is a leading software and services provider to communications companies, with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
Business & Finance Top 100 Companies (alphabetical):