One of Mayo's biggest success stories has racked up a multimillion-euro profit

Portwest is led by Harry Hughes, who was recently named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

By Paul O'Donoghue

WESTPORT-BASED CLOTHING COMPANY Portwest, one of the biggest companies to ever come out of Mayo, recorded a huge multimillion-euro profit last year.

Portwest, which is owned by Westport brothers Cathal, Harry and Owen Hughes, manufactures high-visibility clothing, flame resistant garments and other protective gear at its facilities in Bangladesh.

It also has warehouses in the US, Dubai, UK, Poland and Ireland.

New accounts for the firm show that its sales rose to €127 million in the 12 months to the end of February 2017.

This was up from just over €100 million the year before.

While costs such as administrative expenses and the cost of sales also jumped, the company still reported an operating profit of more than €20 million.

After paying €3 million in corporate tax, Portwest recorded a profit of just under €17 million, up from €12 million the year before.

This brought accumulated profits at the business to €82 million.

The firm employed 70 people during the year, almost all of whom were based in administration roles. This figure likely does not include any of its foreign staff. Portwest says it employs over 2,000 people worldwide.

Directors remuneration rose from €741,000 to €846,000.

Hughes family

The board of eight directors is largely comprised of the Hughes family, which has been trading in Westport since 1904. The current trio of brothers heading up Portwest are the third generation of their family to run the business.

Earlier this year Harry Hughes, the chief executive of Portwest, was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Hughes has led the expansion of the firm, and in March oversaw a takeover of Melbourne company Prime Mover Workwear for more than €7.5 million.

The company expects to more than treble its annual turnover to €350 million by 2020, which it says will make it the fastest-growing workwear company in the world.

As well as their work with Portwest, the Hughes family is also involved in several local businesses and projects in Westport.

Notably, in January of this year, the Hughes dynasty purchased Westport House and estate for an undisclosed sum from the Browne family. The new owners are now planning to upgrade the iconic property.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.