Invest NI reports ramp up in sales and exports at partner companies

Invest Northern Ireland has said it is having a positive impact on the province’s economy by helping the companies which it supports grow sales and exports by more than 15% last year.

The annual data release showed significant growth in sales for the advanced manufacturing companies the investment agency supports of over £1 billion in 2022 compared to 2021, while those in the agrifood sector reported a jump of £800 million. Life & Health Sciences and Digital & Creative both reported 20% increases in sales.

Northern Ireland’s closest neighbour the Republic remained the most popular destination for exports while the Americas, which include the US, Canada and South America, recorded the largest jump in sales of 16%. In total, Invest NI support companies account for 80% of sales outside Northern Ireland.

There was a more modest growth in employment numbers, a widely-watched metric of Invest NI’s performance, of just 3.3% or 4,279 over the year.

The latest figures will go some way to boosting the agency’s confidence following a withering independent report on its operation released earlier this year.

Carried out by Sir Michael Lyons, Dame Rotha Johnston DBE and Maureen O’Reilly, it said ‘profound change’ was needed at Invest NI if it is to play a central role in growing the Northern Ireland economy.

Interim CEO, Mel Chittock said the latest data release shows the agency is on the right tracks.

“These are a very strong set of performance indicators, particularly given the impact the EU Exit and Covid-19 has had on the business community right across Northern Ireland,” he said. “This growth demonstrates the resilience and endeavours of NI businesses.

“It is also testament to the professionalism and commitment of Invest NI staff and to the help and support of our key partners and stakeholders. These results provide us with a very firm foundation from which we can continue to support the growth of the NI economy and deliver on the Department for the Economy’s 10X vision.”