Profits soar at sportswear firm

But O’neills, best known for pro­duc­ing GAA tops, has warned brexit could im­pact on its fu­ture

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY JOHN MUL­GREW

SPORTSWEAR gi­ant O’neills has seen its pre-tax profits rise by more than one-third to al­most £1.3m, but it has warned that Brexit is a “con­sid­er­able risk to fur­ther de­vel­op­ment”.

The com­pany, which is best known for pro­duc­ing GAA tops and has its North­ern Ire­land base in Stra­bane, Co Ty­rone, also saw its gross profit ris­ing from £4.4m to £5.4m in the space of a year.

The com­pany has also grown its work­force from 426 to 499, ac­cord­ing to ac­counts for O’neills Ir­ish In­ter­na­tional Sports Com­pany Ltd, for the year end­ing De­cem­ber 2016.

Last year, the firm said it was putting a planned ex­pan­sion on hold un­til its gets clar­ity over what Brexit will mean for its busi­ness.

O’neills, which also op­er­ates out of Dublin, had said that it was putting in­vest­ment in its man­u­fac­tur­ing base in Stra­bane on hold.

In a strate­gic report in its lat­est ac­counts, the firm said that “op­er­at­ing profit in­creased dur­ing the year, pri­mar­ily due to a gen­eral in­crease in re­tail sales”.

It said: “This can be at­trib­uted to im­proved con­sumer spend­ing, as the con­fi­dence re­turns to the UK and world­wide economies, to­gether with an in­crease in in­ter­net-based sales.”

But speak­ing about the po­ten­tial im­pact of Brexit, the firm said: “Although the growth in the UK and world­wide economies strength­ened in 2016, the im­pend­ing exit of the UK from the EU, and the as­so­ci­ated un­cer­tainty is a con­sid­er­able risk to fur­ther de­vel­op­ment.

“The com­pany aims to re­main com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket by re­view­ing com­po­nent costs, pric­ing, and profit pro­file.”

As­so­ci­ated with the GAA since it was set up on Dublin’s Capel Street in 1918, the group op­er­ates two man­u­fac­tur­ing plants — one in Stra­bane and the other at Walkin­stown Av­enue in Dublin

Aside from its range of GAA tops, O’neills pro­duce sportswear for a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent sports.

The com­pany now makes cricket cloth­ing, in­clud­ing the kit worn by the Ire­land team.

As a re­sult of the in­crease in the size of its work­force, the com­pany’s pay bill in­creased from £7.9m to £9.4m for the year end­ing De­cem­ber 2016.

Speak­ing to the BBC in May about what im­pact the UK’S exit from the EU could have on busi­ness, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Kieran Kennedy said: “We are in a state of limbo and we don’t know what is hap­pen­ing.

“It could have a ma­jor ef­fect on our busi­nesses, in part with our em­ploy­ees in terms of free travel from Done­gal, where 50% of our staff are em­ployed.

“We are not sure about tar­iffs and du­ties, and things like that. And no one can tell us that,” the di­rec­tor added.

“That’s our big­gest fear — 95% of the gar­ments pro­duced in Stra­bane are ex­ported over the bor­der and fur­ther afield.

“If we don’t have the same de­mand, it cer­tainly will have an im­pact on jobs. We have to wait to find out what is hap­pen­ing be­fore we put our ma­jor ex­pan­sion plans in progress.”

O’neills did not com­ment when con­tacted for fur­ther re­sponse.

A num­ber of com­pa­nies have al­ready is­sued warn­ings over the im­pact Brexit could have on busi­ness. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm Al­mac has said its de­ci­sion to open in the Repub­lic was a re­sult of Brexit.

Dublin’s Jack Mccaf­frey and Pe­ter Harte of Ty­rone (right), both wear­ing O’neills kits

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.