Success for two local firms with prestigious awards

Simon Ballentine from AJ Power collects the category award for best Small Business in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards 2015. Simon receives his award from Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank's Head of Northern Ireland.

Simon Ballentine from AJ Power collects the category award for best Small Business in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards 2015. Simon receives his award from Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank's Head of Northern Ireland.

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Two local firms have been recognised at an awards ceremony for Northern Ireland’s top achieving companies in the Ulster Museum, Belfast.

Among the impressive winners was Moira firm Hannan Meats whose retail outlet The Meat Merchant was named best Agri Business in the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards 2015, from a record list of entries.

Winner of the Agri Business Category in the 2015 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards is Peter Hannan from Hannan Meats / The Meat Merchant. Peter (right) receives his award from Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank's Head of Northern Ireland.

Winner of the Agri Business Category in the 2015 Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards is Peter Hannan from Hannan Meats / The Meat Merchant. Peter (right) receives his award from Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank's Head of Northern Ireland.

There was also success for AJ Power Ltd, Craigavon, who took the Best Small Business Award at the gala ceremony.

The awards seek to celebrate the achievements of local companies across a wide range of business sectors.

Each of the Ulster winners will now go forward to compete against provincial winners from Connaught, Leinster and Munster in the all-island stage of the competition. The overall Business Achiever and all-island category winners will be announced at a gala evening in Dublin in December.

Hannan Meats is an independent producer, processor, wholesaler and distributor to the foodservice sector in Northern Ireland.

Not only has Hannan’s changed the way quality meat is sourced, the company has also developed a unique Salt Ageing process and specialised animal handling and processing.

Its innovative approach is reflected in its two Himalayan Salt Chambers which were a first in Northern Ireland.

In order to meet increasing customer demand for restaurant-quality meat at home, the company decided to open a retail outlet; The Meat Merchant. In 2014, the company had no less than five products listed in the Great Taste, Top 50 Food Awards.

Craigavon based AJ Power manufactures diesel generating sets and associated equipment, exporting almost 100% of its range to 55 countries around the world.

The company has adopted a sustained and vigorous approach to securing new customers which has resulted in a £17.5 million order book at the end of December 2014 compared to £7.6 million in the previous year.

Nurturing existing customer relationships while researching and evaluating new markets has enabled the trend for growth to continue into 2015 with January sales hitting a record high of almost £21.5million.

Congratulating the Ulster winners, Richard Donnan, Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, said: “With over 200 entries from Ulster to the awards this year, the winners and shortlisted companies today can be sure that they are the cream of a very impressive crop.

“The standard was truly exceptional and I am extremely confident that the eight category winners will do Ulster proud in the all-island 
final.”