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‘Idea of things to come’ as profits down for NI companies in new top 100 list

Due to the fact some of the accounts upon which the Ulster Business Top 100 NI Companies list is based date back to 2019, it remains to be seen the full impact of NI’s complicated EU exit as well as Covid restrictions.
© Michael Neill, head of Belfast…

Due to the fact some of the accounts upon which the Ulster Business Top 100 NI Companies list is based date back to 2019, it remains to be seen the full impact of NI's complicated EU exit as well as Covid restrictions.

(C) Michael Neill, head of Belfast office, A&L Goodbody, sponsor of the Top 100 with John Mulgrew, Ulste...

The flagship list, published by Ulster Business in conjunction with A&L Goodbody (ALG), shows that sales increased by 4.3%, year-on-year, to GBP26.7bn. But the list - topped for the 10th year in a row by Moy Park - also showed profits fell marginally among those businesses by 0.3% to GBP930.2m. The list has showcased the performance of the biggest firms from right across Northern Ireland, ranked by turnover, for more than 30 years.

It uses data from Dun & Bradstreet and the latest accounts filed to Companies House in the UK. John Mulgrew, editor of Ulster Business, said: "In the 12 months since the last Top 100, many of our biggest companies have had to pivot, evolve and deal with operating in an ever-changing environment. "But as the Top 100 shows, many have actually increased sales and profits in the middle of this pandemic, while others have faced challenges to their way of working.

"It may be another year before a clearer picture of the true impact of Covid-19 on our private sector, but there remains resilience and strong results among many of the companies making the 2021 list." He commented: "Because of the lag a lot of the accounting periods are 2019, some are 2020. "In some cases companies will have deferred their accounting periods, pushed them back, because of the impact of Covid.

"Last year all of the accounting periods were pre-Covid so it was all very positive. "This is the first year in my time as editor that the pre-tax profits have been down so there is some impact filtering through. "This may be an idea of things to come."

There are a number of newcomers this year, including German discount supermarket giant Lidl, which is now filing full accounts in Northern Ireland, and blinds maker Mzuri Group, based in Lisburn. Within the Ulster Business Top 100 for 2021, firms employed a total of 101,792 people - a decrease of 2.3% from the prior year's listing of 104,210. The Ulster Business Top 100 Northern Ireland Companies edition is out this week.

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Ben Lowry

Acting Editor