Apple is the biggest company in Ireland - and by some margin - according The Irish Times' Top 1,000 companies 2018. This index ranks firms based on turnover at their Irish offices. 

Apple's Irish turnover hit €119 billion last year, compared to second place CRH, which had a turnover of €27.5 billion. That means the iPhone maker replaces CRH at the top of the list, though its sudden arrival has less to do with a dramatic jump in sales and more to do with the information that is now in the public domain.

"Up until recently we knew very little about the scale of Apple's business in Ireland but, of course, as part of the tax talks at EU level last year more information came out, including that figure of €120 billion sales in Ireland," said Fiona Reddan, business journalist with The Irish Times and editor of the Top 1,000. 

"It's four times bigger than second placed CRH, so it's a massive figure. If you consider what impact that has on our overall economic data - last month the International Monetary fund found that a quarter of our economic growth last year was down to the sales of the iPhone alone." 


The previously hidden nature of Apple's data also shows just how many known unknowns there are in the Irish economy as many other firms that route sales through here tend to keep those figures to themselves. "We know now about Apple but there's plenty of other large multinationals; IBM, Intel, Pfizer and even Penneys that don't disclose financial details for their Irish operations - and they could be in our top ten if we knew more about them."

The distorting effect of Apple's figure aside, though, it appears to have been a positive year for companies in the Top 1,000, with revenues and profits rising. "As a reflection of the overall Irish economy they're all performing very strongly," Ms Reddan said. "Sales are up 6%, profits are up 7% - but if you compare profits with 2015 they're up by more than 60%. As the economy is growing, so too are these companies," she added. 

A lot of the turnover being booked by these companies is coming from abroad - and much of it tends to leave the jurisdiction just as quickly. However the amount of profit being booked here is up - with nine companies reporting profits of more than €1 billion. One of those included the Central Bank, which yesterday reported profits of €2.6 billion.

There are plenty of domestic-focused firms in the Top 1,000, though, and many of those are doing well too.
"You've got companies like Cairn Homes which grew its revenues threefold last year," Ms Reddan said. "PressUp made our list for the first time this year, it owns the Dean Hotel and the Stella Cinema, and has grown very strongly in the past year. 

But Ms Reddan said that there are still mixed fortunes out there, though, with the likes of  Ulster Bank reporting a loss in its most recent financial year. "If you look at the retail sector, companies like Harvey Norman had a troubling time in the recession and it still hasn't turned a profit yet," she added.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to pay a $4.9 billion penalty to end a US Department of Justice probe into its sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. The bank, which owns Ulster Bank here, said $3.46 billion of the proposed settlement will be covered by existing provisions and it will take a £1.44 billion charge in this quarter to cover the rest. The deal would resolve a major issue that has weighed on the company and complicated the UK government's plan to sell down its 71% stake. 

*** The operator of Irish Ferries saw its revenues rise by 1.4% to €96.4m in the first four months of the year, according to a trading statement this morning. Irish Continental Group saw growth across its business during the period, though it has also taken a €2.5m revenue hit over delays in the arrival of its new WB Yeats ferry.

*** BT is to axe around 13,000 jobs in the UK, most of which will be back office and middle management roles. The telecoms giant made the announcement as part of a strategy update, where it also detailed plans to exit its headquarters in central London.

*** There was a 5.5% rise in the number of professional job vacancies between March and April, according to recruitment consultants Morgan McKinley. However the number of job seekers fell by 1.2%. Data analysts and those with multiple languages are highly sought-after, while Brexit and the introduction of new data protection laws has strengthened demand for legal professionals.