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Portwest Acquires Second Australian Workwear Company

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Portwest Acquires Second Australian Workwear Company

Portwest Acquires Second Australian Workwear Company
October 19
15:14 2017

Leading safety clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturers Portwest have agreed to acquire a second workwear company in Australia (due to current legal obligations, the name of the Australian cannot be disclosed). The announcement was made at a recent Enterprise Ireland business lunch in Melbourne, attended by 200 business leaders from Ireland and Australia, as part of the Enterprise Ireland trade and investment programme to Australia, organised in the context of the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgin’s State visit to Australia. President Higgins was guest of honour at the event.

The acquisition of this second Australian workwear company by Portwest, follows the company’s acquisition of the Australian company Prime Mover Workwear earlier this year. This second acquisition will double Portwest’s turnover in Australia to over €20m per annum, further consolidating its position as the fastest growing workwear company in the world. Headquartered in Westport (Ireland), the company employs 2,100 people and sells in 110 countries worldwide.

Portwest recently published strong results for 2016 showing a turnover of €149m and a net profit of €25m. Portwest CEO, Harry Hughes said: “We are happy with this performance. The company is working to a 5-year plan with a growth rate of 30% per year and, although all growth to date has been organic, acquisitions will play a more important part of future expansion. Our sights are firmly fixed on our new markets of US and Australia and we have an outstanding pipeline of new designs and innovations to drive this growth.”

Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland CEO, said “The global export success that Portwest has achieved is outstanding. Their second acquisition of an Australian company will strengthen the company’s access to the Australian and Asia Pacific markets, which are increasingly important export markets for Irish companies, particularly in the context of Brexit. Over 50 Enterprise Ireland client companies are participating on the current trade and investment programme to Australia, with many of them Brexit exposed. The programme is focused on supporting these companies to expand their export footprint into this important market and emulate the success of companies like Portwest which is a prime example of what an ambitious and innovative Irish company can achieve internationally.”

€10m Irish Expansion

Portwest CEO Harry Hughes also announced the building of a new corporate headquarters at Westport which will cost over €10m. This will allow for the growth in staff numbers over the next few years.

Portwest specialises in the design and production of flame-resistant and high-visibility work-wear, rainwear, protective footwear, hand protection and personal protective equipment. Their products are well recognised in international industries such as oil, gas, mining and construction.

The company recently opened a new warehouse in Panama to service the ever growing Central and South American markets. Four of their nine warehouses have been expanded this year to allow for future growth. Portwest already have a manufacturing facility in Bangladesh with over 1,600 employees and recently opened a second factory in Myanmar.

The company takes a strong position on minimising risk for their 6,500 business customers. As Harry Hughes explained: “Global brands prefer the assurance from a company like ours who own and manage the full supply chain. It eliminates ethical and product risk and this is a real competitive advantage for Portwest.”

Harry Hughes is a finalist in the International Category of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017. Portwest, who are a Deloitte Best Managed Company for 2016 and 2017, has also been short listed for Multinational Exporter of the Year by the Irish Exporters Association.


Harry Hughes, CEO of Portwest; President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins; and Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland.

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