Four companies from NI make Sunday Times Profit league table

Gordon's Chemist in Cookstown
Gordon's Chemist in Cookstown

Four companies based in Northern Ireland have made the Sunday Times’s profit making league table.

Published this weekend, the 18th annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing profits over three years.

The highest ranked company in NI is County Down-based Gordons Chemists, which features for the first time, at No 13.

The family firm began as a single pharmacy in 1980, and now operates more than 60 pharmacies across Northern Ireland and Scotland. It also runs Gordons Direct, a website which sells healthcare products.

Expansion on the high street and online sales growth helped lift profits grow by an average of 104% a year to £5m in 2016.

Also making its debut this year is County Londonderry business Tobermore, which manufactures concrete products and supplies both commercial and residential markets throughout the UK and Ireland.

The second generation family business grew profits by an average of 88% a year to £6m in 2016.

Two other companies which appeared on the list last year make a return: Artisan food producer Finnebrogue based in Downpatrick, who say it is becoming Marks & Spencer’s sole supplier of sausages, and MJM Interior Build, a specialist joiner based in Newry who completed a refit of the world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, in 2014.

Together the four companies employ 1,300 staff and have achieved combined profits of £21m.

The companies in Northern Ireland appear with businesses from around the UK, including domestic appliance designer Gtech, bottled drinks manufacturer Radnor Hills and gym operator PureGym.

The companies have achieved a higher average rate of profit growth (83%) than any previous Profit Track 100 league table, which have typically ranged from 50%-75% pa. The minimum rate of profit growth to secure a place has also risen to 57% pa - annual growth in the mid-40s has typically been sufficient to feature on previous tables.

The league table and awards programme is sponsored by BDO and UBS Wealth Management, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Peter Burnside, managing partner in Northern Ireland at BDO, the title sponsor of the league table, commented: “High-growth, mid-sized businesses played a leading role in the UK economic recovery after the global financial crisis. With Brexit and more uncertainty looming, it is companies like these with their natural energy, ambition and entrepreneurial spirit that will help the UK economy thrive. By supporting their growth, government would also be helping to achieve a more regionally balanced economy that ‘works for all’.”