Liam Fox celebrates best of Northern Ireland business

13th December 2018

Liam Fox celebrates best of Northern Ireland business

  • Three Northern Ireland businesses awarded prestigious Board of Trade Awards (BOFTAs)
  • Dr Liam Fox MP to visit County Down-based business MJM Group
  • Northern Ireland remains a leading destination for inward investment, with the highest number of foreign direct investment jobs per head in the UK.

Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP visits Belfast today (Friday 23 November) to present three Board of Trade Awards (BOFTAs) to Northern Ireland businesses, celebrating their success in international trade. The BOFTAs recognise companies that show exceptional innovation, deliver prosperity to their local communities and champion global trade.


Dr Fox will also visit marine fit-out company MJM Group in Newry. The family-run business, which earlier this year announced the creation of 30 new skilled jobs, has completed projects across five continents including in China, where it was part of the Prime Minister’s business delegation.


Exports from Northern Ireland increased by 7.3% to over £10bn in 2016, with Northern Ireland also proving to be a top destination for inward investment. Over 900 companies from across the world have invested in Northern Ireland since 2012, employing 20,000 people - the highest number of foreign direct investment jobs per head in the UK. As a key tourist destination, visitor spend also increased 9% last year to £926m.


Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Dr Liam Fox MP said:


"The three winners represent the breadth of businesses in Northern Ireland – and I’m delighted to be able to recognise their international success by presenting each with a Board of Trade Award.


"From Bahrain to the Philippines, each of the winning businesses has showcased the strength of Northern Ireland’s industry to our trading partners the world over. Their exporting ambitions have led to job creation and prosperity – embodying what the Board of Trade Awards are about."


Board of Trade Awards winners

  • Devenish Nutrition, headquartered in Belfast, develops products for the feed industry, the food industry and for human health and now trades in over 35 countries. The business has manufacturing sites across the UK, Ireland, the USA, Turkey and Uganda, as well as offices in UAE, Uganda, Mexico and the Philippines. It plans to add 100 jobs to its international operations.
  • ELSS Engineering Ltd, based in Derry/Londonderry, specialises in large-scale aquarium design, installation and management. With high-profile clients across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, over 90% of its business comes from overseas clients. It recently won a contract to fit a 700,000-litre aquarium in Bahrain.
  • Thompson Aero Seating Ltd, based in Portadown, is recognised internationally for its cutting-edge design, engineering and manufacture of premium airline seats. Selected by many of the world’s leading airlines, its designs have won numerous awards. Customer deliveries last year included China Eastern, TAP Portugal and Philippine Airlines. Thompson is one of Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing businesses, employing over 1,000 people.

Whilst in Northern Ireland, Dr Fox will also meet students taking part in a National Trade Academy Programme (NTAP) business seminar. NTAP brings together experts in international trade from different sectors to get the next generation of entrepreneurs export-ready.


The government's new Export Strategy sets out how the Department for International Trade (DIT) will support firms of all sizes to make the most of the opportunities presented by markets around the world.


Developed in collaboration with business, the Export Strategy sets a new ambition from government to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP from 30% to 35%.


Businesses across Northern Ireland can access DIT’s services and have access to DIT-led events and support schemes, a network of advisers in 108 markets worldwide, access to trade missions and online services at


Speaking about the award, Richard Kennedy, CEO of Devenish Nutrition said: “It is an honour to accept a Board of Trade Award from The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP today.

"Devenish is committed to driving innovation at every level of the supply chain – creating sustainable nutritional products and solutions for the feed industry, the food industry and for human health.

"We are extremely proud to be recognised by the Department of International Trade for our ‘One Health: From soil to society’ approach to nutrition, and this accolade will help to further inspire our teams of talented people across the globe."

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