To give some international trade perspective on Ireland’s recent company performance, the overall value of Irish exports increased in value by 34.2% from US$123.1 billion in 2014 to $165.1 billion during 2018. From 2017 to 2018, Ireland’s exported goods appreciated by 19.6%.
In the analysis below, we compare 10 among Ireland’s top exports-oriented companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of December 2018. Also listed is the Irish city where each business has its headquarters.
Ireland’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are Ireland’s biggest export companies organized by asset value. Shown within parentheses is the primary industry in which each company operates. Also shown are percentage changes in asset value at December 2018 compared to 2017.
- Allied Irish Banks (regional banks): US$108.1 billion, up 7.2% from 2017
- Medtronic (medical equipment): $95.8 billion, down -4%
- Shire (pharmaceuticals): $67.9 billion, up 1.3%
- CRH (construction materials): $38 billion, up 14%
- Eaton (other industrial equipment): $32.7 billion, up 7.5%
- Accenture (computer services): $23.1 billion, up 15%
- Ingersoll-Rand (conglomerates): $18.4 billion, up 5.7%
- Ryanair Holdings (airline): $14 billion, up 21.7%
- Smurfit Kappa Group (paper, paper products): $11.4 billion, up 18.9%
- Seagate Technology (computer storage devices): $9 billion, up 5.1%
Nine of these large Irish firms grew their total assets from 2017 to December 2018, led by airliner Ryanair Holdings (up 21.7%) and paper producer Smurfit Kappa Group (up 18.9%).
The sole decliner in terms of asset size was Medtronic (down -4%), a medical equipment and supplies provider that relocated its legal headquarters to Dublin in 2015.
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Seven of Ireland’s largest export-oriented companies increased their year-over-year sales as of December 2018.
- Accenture: US$39.1 billion, up 9.5% from 2017
- Medtronic: $30 billion, up 1%
- CRH: $28.5 billion, down -5.2%
- Eaton: $20.8 billion, up 5.3%
- Shire: $15.3 billion, up 32.1%
- Ingersoll-Rand: $14.6 billion, up 8.1%
- Seagate Technology: $10.8 billion, down -1.3%
- Smurfit Kappa Group: $9.7 billion, up 7.4%
- Ryanair Holdings: $7.9 billion, up 7.5%
- Allied Irish Banks: $3.8 billion, down -3.8%
Sales improvements ranged from a 32.1% gain for pharmaceuticals firm Shire (up 32.1%) ahead of computer services company Accenture (up 9.5%) and conglomerate Ingersoll-Rand (up 8.1%).
The three major Irish companies posting year-over-year sales declines were construction materials provider CRH (down -5.2%), Allied Irish Banks (down -3.8%) and Seagate Technology (down -1.3%).
All 10 of Ireland’s major exports-oriented companies were profitable as of December 2018.
- Shire: US$1.3 billion, up 1,185% from 2017
- Accenture: $3.6 billion, down -5.5%
- Medtronic: $3.1 billion, down -23.1%
- Eaton: $3 billion, up 56.3%
- CRH: $2.2 billion, up 56%
- Ryanair Holdings: $1.6 billion, up 10.3%
- Ingersoll-Rand: $1.3 billion, down -12.2%
- Allied Irish Banks: $1.2 billion, down -17.8%
- Seagate Technology: $835 million, up 62.8%
- Smurfit Kappa Group: $470 million, down -4.1%
However, only half of these relatively large Irish firms increased their profitability from 2017 to December 2018, led by pharmaceuticals supplier Shire via its formidable 1,185% expansion in black ink.
Profit shrinkages ranged from the -23.1% reduction for medical devices specialist Medtronic to a -4.1% setback for paper business Smurfit Kappa Group.
Eight of Ireland’s top 10 major export-oriented companies have their headquarters located in the country’s capital city, Dublin. The remaining two are based in Swords, also known as Dublin’s satellite county town named Fingal.
- Accenture: Dublin
- Allied Irish Banks: Dublin
- CRH: Dublin
- Eaton: Dublin
- Ingersoll-Rand: Swords
- Medtronic: Dublin
- Ryanair Holdings: Swords
- Seagate Technology: Dublin
- Shire: Dublin
- Smurfit Kappa Group: Dublin
Note: Some of the above company offerings may include products other than the principal category shown within parenthesis under the Assets tab.
For example, Eaton is a diversified power management firm that also distributes hazardous duty electrical equipment, hydraulics components, aerospace products and specialized automotive parts and systems.
See also Ireland’s Top 10 Exports, Ireland’s Top 10 Imports and Ireland’s Top Trading Partners
Forbes Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of a top Irish company compiled for this study: CRH. Accessed on October 16, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings for Ireland, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 16, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 16, 2019
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Ireland. Accessed on October 16, 2019
Wikipedia, List of companies of Ireland. Accessed on October 16, 2019
Wikipedia, Medtronic. Accessed on October 16, 2019
Wikipedia, Swords, Dublin. Accessed on October 16, 2019