Microsoft bumps CRH as State's largest in Top 1000 survey

Two-thirds of surveyed companies grew sales in last financial year, ‘Irish Times’ report finds

US technology giant Microsoft has become the largest company in Ireland for the first time, according to the The Irish Times Top 1000 Companies 2015 survey.

With an annual turnover of € 19.8 billion the software specialist, which is also enjoying considerable success in hardware with its recent launch of the Surface tablet, has knocked Irish construction materials company CRH back into second place.

Annual revenue growth of 32 per cent saw Microsoft move into the top spot, as the company, which reports in US dollars for its Irish operation, benefited from a strong euro conversion rate. Microsoft employs some 2,000 people at its Sandyford base in Dublin.

Also on the move is Google, which has slipped one place to third. New in the Top 10 this year is Irish-headquartered pharma group Medtronic (fourth), which may challenge Microsoft for the top spot in 2016, thanks to its acquisition earlier this year of Dublin based Covidien.


Irish names featuring in the Top 10 include DCC (5) and Smurfit Kappa (9).

Facebook climbs

Other notable movers in the survey include US social media giant Facebook, which has climbed nine places to 28th. Turnover at its Dublin operation has increased 12-fold since it first opened its office in 2009 and stood at almost €3 billion in 2013.

Going in the opposite direction is Tesco, which slipped 10 places to 30th, as the beleaguered grocer continued to report a reduction in sales in Ireland.

Overall, the survey shows that Ireland’s top companies are in recovery mode, with 65 per cent growing their sales in their most recent financial year, up 5 per cent on the 2014 survey.

Profitability among Top 1000 companies has also improved, with total net profits standing at €15.9 billion, up 33 per cent from €12 billion last year.

Irish companies are big employers

It may not be a surprise to learn that 54 per cent of the Top 1000 companies hail from Ireland. What is more surprising perhaps, is to learn that these companies account for 68 per cent of Top 1000 jobs, far more than US companies (14.5 per cent of jobs) and companies from the UK (11 per cent of jobs).

The turnaround in the banking and financial sector has been quite dramatic, the survey shows, with banks and financial institutions recording a net profit of €7.1 billion, compared with a loss of €1 billion in last year’s survey.

Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank all made profits for the first time since the crash, while BoI has replaced Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which continues to downsize its Irish operation, as Ireland's largest bank.

However the most profitable organisation in Ireland, with profits in excess of €2 billion, is the Central Bank. Since 2009 the bank has made a staggering €8 billion in profits.

The survey also found that Dublin-based fund administration companies such as BNY Mellon and State Street are reporting rapid growth rates.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times