Dundalk native now a billionaire

ACCORDING to a report in this week’s Sunday Independent, Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech has broken past the billionaire mark.

ACCORDING to a report in this week’s Sunday Independent, Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech has broken past the billionaire mark.

A native of Dundalk, Dr Pearse Lyons is the founder and president of Alltech, a global animal health and nutrition company that is centered on innovation, research and development.

According to Sunday Independent rich list, Dr Lyons is now worth an estimated €1.5bn.

The company’s focus is on improving animal performance, enhancing natural processes of growth, digestion and reproduction by providing yeast-based natural nutritional ingredients.

Lyons is credited with building Alltech into a billionaire dollar plus business in just three decades. The company’s global headquarters is in Lexington, Kentucky; however it also has a state-of-the-art European bioscience centre located in Dunboyne, Co Meath as well as a presence in 120 countries throughout the world.

After graduating from UCD with a first-class honours degree in biochemistry in 1967, Lyons became the first Irish person to achieve a masters in brewing technology before going on to complete a PhD in yeast biochemistry at the University of Birmingham.

He began his career with Irish Distillers in Dublin where he was involved in the design of its facility in Midleton, Co Cork. Four years later, he got his first taste of American business when he was headhunted by an ingredients supplier for the brewing industry. He was subsequently sent to Lexington to set up a new facility, making additives for the industry.

By October 1980, Lyons decided to set out on his own, exploiting his talents as a salesman and his in-depth knowledge of yeast culture.

He began to supply special strains of yeast to the then newly emerging fuel alcohol industry.

Lyons turned his attention to animal feed in the belief that yeasts, enzymes and certain bacteria could help animals utilise feed more efficiently - a concept which was not new but lacked scientific data and research.

This method has become the cornerstone of Alltech’s success.