• Family owned firms dominate Top 100 Locally Controlled NI Businesses

Family owned firms dominate Top 100 Locally Controlled NI Businesses

01 May 2019

Martin Murdock of Norbrook, John Simpson, Economist, Liam Nagle, CEO of Norbrook, Angela Keery, Director at BDO and Gordon Milligan, IoD pictured at the Top 100 Locally Controlled Business launch.

Family owned companies dominate the IoD NI Top 100 Locally Controlled NI Businesses sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland. Businesses owned and operated by families make up 79% of the list with 9 out of the Top 10 all family owned firms.

Sales at these top performing companies grew by an average of 15% with 70% reporting growth in the past twelve months and an increase in their revenues, with profits ranging from approx. £2m to £49m. Collectively they contributed £12bn in annual turnover to the local economy and employed more than 55,000 people.

Local Newry based company, Norbrook Holdings named top for the first time, who after 50 years, remains a family owned business, with the family of the late Lord Ballyedmond retaining ownership.

The Top 100 list used to identify and celebrate the success of locally owned businesses in Northern Ireland, many of whom have been successful in global markets, all from a foundation built in Northern Ireland. Other companies to make the Top 100 included W&R Barnett, Banner Dell, Almac Group (the only non-family owned business in the top 10), SHS Group and Henderson Group.    

While headquartered in Northern Ireland, Norbrook Holdings have globally diversified across mature and emerging markets. In addition to a number of manufacturing sites and new laboratory facilities in Northern Ireland, the group also has production capabilities in ROI and Nairobi, Kenya. Norbrook products marketed in over 100 countries worldwide and in recent years, focus on the US market has delivered above market rate growth in this region.

Maybeth Shaw, Partner and Lead for BDO Family Business Services commented,

"Family owned businesses make up the majority of locally controlled firms on the Top 100 list, many of whom have transitioned from one generation to another. This indicates that these companies are performing at higher levels than expected and are facing many challenges head on. It also demonstrates that there is a wealth of businesses with the ambition to develop new ideas and embrace opportunities to scale up to new levels of success."

Angela Keery, Tax Director with BDO Northern Ireland commented,

“These ambitious, fast growing companies reflect the rich diversity of business in Northern Ireland, from well-established family-owned companies to the emergence of dynamic new businesses who have identified new markets and customer bases to target.

“At BDO NI we believe that locally controlled NI businesses can help each other, share in each other’s success and learn from the challenges other businesses have faced.”

LCC Group, FP McCann, TG Eakin and Waste Recovery business Clearway Holdings all make up the top 10 on the list. Companies that make it into the top 100 come from a diverse range of sectors, including manufacturing, health and pharma care, technology, hospitality, transport and Agri-food. 

Liam Nagle, CEO of Norbrook Holdings shared some of his thoughts on what businesses should be doing to ensure their continued success,

“Encouraging all staff to work in and on the business, management have the responsibility to continually improve the business and leave it in a better place on a Friday that it was on the Monday. Businesses should use benchmarking, to understand what good is, where the business is and therefore what they should be aiming for.”

BDO NI specialises in assisting family owned and locally controlled businesses, and in doing so have developed an in-depth knowledge and the required skills needed to navigate through the complexities that many of those businesses face. 

The full BDO Top 100 locally controlled businesses listing can be viewed here as part of the IoD Director NI Magazine.