It’s been another good year for Tallaght man Eric Mosley. His company Workhuman, which was formerly called Globoforce, saw revenues increase by over €90m and profits by €13m over 2018. The company said it expected revenues to jump above €700m in 2019. Moseley owns 11pc of the business. It paid shareholders dividends of €102m in the space of six months between December 2018 and last June.
Eighty-one-year-old Bill Durkan holds a majority of the Durkan construction group, which he founded in 1963. The company has become known as a major housebuilder, not just on these shores, but over in the UK too. Known for his heavy criticism of Nama, he paid off €43m worth of loans from the state agency, describing the process of dealing with it as “cumbersome, costly and time-consuming”. In accounts for the year ended November 2018, Durkan’s company reported profit before tax of £7.8m, with shareholders receiving a dividend of £6m.
Switzerland-based Eric Kinsella (75) sold down his stake in electrical engineering firm Jones but still owns more than 60pc of the company, with it paying out a dividend of nearly €19m over 2018, up from €10m the previous year. Kinsella also focuses on investment property through his Esprit Investment Ltd entity, which has built a portfolio worth over €200m. Shareholder funds in Esprit Investment Ltd rose by €5m to nearly €60m in 2018. Kinsella is a well-known philanthropist who has donated millions of euro to Trinity College Dublin, including Kinsella Hall, named after his parents.
It has been four years since Enya released her eighth album, Dark Sky Island, but royalties from her hits continue to pour in. She will have received a boost last year when her single, Caribbean Blue, provided the soundtrack to the momentous final scene of Channel 4’s hugely popular comedy series, Derry Girls. The 58-year-old is one of the world’s most successful artists, selling 80 million records, placing her above the likes of Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, and Nirvana.
2019 was an eventful year for 67-year-old Liam Neeson. While promoting revenge thriller, Cold Pursuit, he faced accusations of racism after stating that he once set out to “kill a black bastard”. Despite this, he kept busy, starring in Ordinary Love and Men in Black: International. He also had a cameo role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The films performed admirably at the box office, providing the former Guinness factory forklift driver with a boost following a difficult start to the year.
Former Davy economist Brendan Dowling had a poor 2018 after shares in Ardagh, where he serves as director of corporate development, fell. The glass bottle and metal containers giant posted an €83m loss in 2018 and also announced that it was seeking to raise nearly €1.99bn in a refinancing programme. Despite its poor performance, Ardagh shares over 2019 have improved and are now up 62pc on the previous year.
Karl (46) and Kevin (41) McHugh head up the Atlantic Dawn Group, one of the largest companies in the European frozen fish market. Ownership of the business was passed down to the brothers from their father Kevin when he died suddenly in 2006, leaving an estate which was then valued at around €72m. The pair have also invested in property. Worries surrounding Brexit will have caused some uncertainty, mainly as fishing rights around UK waters is set to be one of the major sticking points. According to accounts for one of the companies owned by the brothers, assets grew by just over €4m. However, some small losses and debt has accrued at others.
In 2003, Dermot Smurfit, the brother of Michael Smurfit, collected €30m when he sold his stake in the family’s packaging business, Smurfit Kappa Group, to private equity firm, Madison Dearborn. Dermot (75) went on to create packaging business Powerflute, which he sold for £268m, netting him and his brother €77m. Last year, he stood down from his position as chair of aviation services business, John Menzies. He also holds other stakes in the timber and financial services areas.
The Galway boy came good when he sold Fintrax, a currency conversion company, to private equity firm Exponent for €170m in 2012. Barry is believed to have netted €119m from the deal, dubbed the ‘biggest in Gaeltacht history’. His family investment firm, Mainline Business Ventures, recently put €2.4m into his new payment company, Priviti, which he claimed would be ten times bigger than Fintrax.
Colm Kelleher made headlines this year after announcing his retirement as president of US investment giant, Morgan Stanley. Since then, Kelleher has built up his stake in Morgan Stanley, with his shareholding now sitting at over 970,000. According to Bloomberg, the value of his remuneration has grown by €4.4m over the past year. He earned around €23m in the previous year.
In 2018, the majority of the 16pc stake held by Eileen Monahan in the Doyle Hotels chain was transferred to Denehall Trustee Services. Members of the Monahan family continue to serve as directors of the company, which made a pre-tax profit of €11.6m on turnover of €146.5m in 2018. Alongside her husband Raymond, Monahan has an international property portfolio, which includes Sligo’s Johnston Court shopping centre and a French vineyard.
Hitting the gym appears to be paying off for 70-year-old Ben Dunne, who saw his chain of self-titled gyms turn an operating profit of €3.8m in 2018. According to the owner of the gym group, who is reported to have been paid as much as €125m for his shares in Dunnes Stores around ten years ago, the business is expected to post a €5m profit at the end of its upcoming financial year.
Brothers Padraic (57) and Martin McHale (59) completely transformed the family business in the early 1980s, from shopkeeping to manufacturing silage and slurry pumps. With its headquarters sitting on a 30-acre site in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, McHale Engineering is one of the leading international manufacturers of specialist agricultural machinery. In November, the brothers received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Farming Independent Awards. Brexit could harm business in the years ahead, with agritech set to be one of the sectors which suffers most.
Nearly four years ago, Sean Mitchell (51) and David Moloney (57) sold chip design company Movidius to Intel in a deal worth €350m. The pair shared the sale among investors, including Draper Esprit. Both men still have some involvement with Movidius, and recently picked up the overall Provost Innovation Award at the Trinity Innovation Awards 2019. Sean Mitchell was registered as a director of Shotclip, which was struck off the company’s register last year.
Frank Murphy, the former Fexco senior executive, founded Monex in 1997, with the business now boasting clients such as Ryanair, Hertz and Bank of China. Accounts filed last year show the company reported revenues of €113.4m in 2018, up from €112.4m a year earlier. It also generated pretax profits of €7.3m, up from €7.04m in 2017. Directors at the Co Kerry-headquartered financial payments company shared a €6.3m payout.
Former chairman and CEO of insurance giant Liberty Mutual, Edmund F ‘Ted’ Kelly (74), earned €138m during his time at the company. He famously defended this, saying that an “accounting issue” made his payout look bigger. Kelly retired in 2013 as chairman.
The Armagh couple scooped a life-changing sum of money after winning the Euromillions, bringing in a £114,969,775.70 (€130m) haul. The couple, who reacted to winning the jackpot with “a cup of tea and a hug”, are believed to have spread the wealth around, having drawn up a list of 50 people with whom they planned to share their good fortune. Even with spreading their newfound wealth, and promising to create a few more millionaires, Patrick, a businessman, and Frances, a teacher, will still be sitting on a tidy sum. Based on Patrick’s comments, the Sunday Independent has estimated that the family shared €10m among friends and family.
According to the most recent accounts for Power City, the McKenna family, who are behind the electrical goods’ retailer, pocketed a €3m dividend in 2018, the second such dividend the family has received in a row. Profits at the firm increased by 22pc to €6.4m over the year.
Fifty-five-year-old Tom Morrisroe netted €74m when he sold his data company, The Now Factory, to IBM in 2015. The Roscommon man also owns around a third of Johnny Ronan’s Spencer Dock Development Company (SPDC). The firm received planning permission to build 464 apartments and 200 co-living bed spaces in the Dublin Docklands.
The quintessentially Irish tea, Barry’s Tea, will have benefitted from a ringing endorsement from Ireland’s rugby stars. Prior to the ill-fated world cup, Barry’s Tea was among the top request for Joe Schmidt’s men prior to them heading out to Tokyo, with star Peter O’Mahony saying the company had sent over a couple of thousand tea bags for the team. Tony Barry (59) remains at the helm of the business which has also invested elsewhere as part of its efforts to diversify. Investments include GC Aesthetics, a breast implant manufacturer, which, according to its most recent accounts, made a €40m loss over 2018.
Jim (66) and Jack (67) Dobson of Dunbia Meats secured a deal with Dawn Meats in 2017 when the two beef processors merged to become the largest in the State. Last year, Dunbia posted its first set of full-year results since merging with Dawn, revealing revenue had soared to £1.09bn in 2018, with profits across its separate Northern Irish and UK accounts totalling £9.9m (€11.72m).
Cavan man Seamus Fitzpatrick is the co-founder of €4bn Mayfair-based private equity group, CapVest. Last year, the firm completed the acquisition of Young’s Seafood through its subsidiary Karro Food Group. The new, enlarged group will have sales of €1.34bn, and employ more than 5,000 staff across Britain and Ireland. The 53-year-old’s group also has a stake in Valeo, which recently acquired Kettle Chips in the UK.
The man behind Irish fast food chain Supermac’s served up a tasty year last year. Recently filed accounts show Supermac’s recorded profits of €23.7m in 2018, as its sales jumped to €172m on the back of new openings. Having locked horns with industry titan McDonald’s, the burger baron was delighted when the global chain decided not to appeal against an EU ruling on trademarks, which caused McDonald’s to lose the right to exclusively use the ‘Mc’ prefix.
Providing engineering services to some of the harshest and most remote areas of the world, Michael Kent and family’s Kentech has grown to become a significant player across the globe. The most recent accounts for the Cork-based specialist engineering company, which is headed up by Sarah Kent, show a €5.8m profit in 2017.
The man who turned down the opportunity to manage Led Zeppelin has been busy settling tax bills. In April, he knocked £90,000 off a tax bill by donating 73 portraits by Damien Hirst, his former client and renowned artist, done on placemats, to the British museum. In 2018, the now-retired Dunphy, a former accountant, raked in €11.2m when he sold his art collection in London.